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OSC issues stiff penalties in stock-tipping case

A former executive assistant at a Toronto securities firm who illegally tipped friends and family to buy mining company shares has been ordered to pay fines and costs totaling $ 650,000.

The Ontario Securities Commission issued its reasons and decisions in the case of Eda Marie Agueci on Wednesday, after a long investigation that is estimated to have cost $ 2.7 million.

In all, the OSC alleged Agueci gave inside tips to eight individuals including friends and relatives, but there was no finding of insider trading against five of them.

First filed in 2012, the case has dragged on and resulted in 59 days of hearings.

In a written decision, the three-member panel led by Edward Kerwin acknowledged that there is no evidence that Agueci profited from her misconduct and trading, and the proceeding has had an impact on her livelihood in the securities industry.

Three others were also found guilty of violating securities law including Dennis Wing, a founding member of First Marathon Securities, and his company Pollen; Henry Fiorillo; and Kimberley Stephany.

All four also face restrictions on acting as a director or officer, and trading in securities.

Both Agueci and Wing were also accused of trying to mislead OSC staff during the investigation.

Agueci is ordered to pay a penalty of $ 350,000 and costs of $ 300,000.

Wing and Pollen have been ordered to pay back $ 520,916 earned from trading on Agueci’s tips as well as $ 1.75 million in administrative penalties. Wing also must pay costs of $ 300,000.

Fiorillo, a longtime friend of Agueci, was ordered to pay back $ 175,138 earned from specific trades and an administrative penalty of $ 350,000. He also must pay costs of $ 50,000.

Stephany, who worked with Agueci at another investment firm, was ordered to pay back $ 7,511 earned from the tips and pay an administrative penalty of $ 15,000. She also must pay $ 25,000 in costs.

In a separate hearing in 2013, Goldcorp chairman Ian Telfer agreed to a settlement deal for his role in advising Agueci to use BlackBerry PIN messages to evade email monitoring.

Telfer agreed to pay the OSC $ 200,000 in investigation costs for his role in the case.