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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has won judgments against two men who participated in a $42-million Vancouver-linked scheme that allowed insiders to illegally sell shares on the U.S. markets. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) A New York judge has imposed injunctions against Vancouver-area resident Christopher McKnight and Florida resident Aaron Wise, and has ordered Mr. Wise to pay $307,185. A fine is coming for Mr. McKnight as well, with the judge still to determine the amount.
The penalties come as part of a case that the SEC filed against a group that allowed insiders to secretly sell large blocks of shares through a network of offshore entities. According to the SEC, the group provided a "layer of disguise" that facilitated the sale of shares in 45 companies over a period of four years. The other defendants in the case include Vancouver's Steve Bajic.
The penalties for Mr. Wise and Mr. McKnight are contained in a pair of judgments handed down on Monday, Nov. 23. The judgments include an injunction barring future violations and, in the case of Mr. Wise, disgorgement of his gains from the scheme, amounting to $208,000, plus interest. Mr. Wise must also pay a $75,000 fine. There are no specific monetary penalties for Mr. McKnight yet, as both sides will make submissions to the judge on an appropriate amount. The judgments are part of a negotiated settlement, in which neither man admitted any wrongdoing.
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