BCSC panel finds that North Vancouver man and two U.S. citizens engaged in market manipulation
Vancouver – A British Columbia Securities Commission panel has found that a North Vancouver man and two U.S. citizens engaged in market manipulation of shares in a company quoted on the U.S. Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB).
The panel found that between June 15 and July 6, 2009, Mark Aaron McLeary, Robert Hainey, and Jerry Williams manipulated the share price of Sungro Minerals Corp., a Nevada corporation that originally had its head office in Surrey, B.C. McLeary is a resident of North Vancouver, and Hainey and Williams both reside in the U.S.
The panel found that Sungro’s publically available shares were tightly controlled, which McLeary knew and told Hainey, who told Williams. Williams is a stock picker who, with Hainey’s assistance, promoted Sungro shares on online message boards he moderated. McLeary directed the selling of Sungro seed shareholders’ shares that were purchased primarily by message board members.
The panel found that at the start of the trading period, Sungro had only $299 in assets and had no business. Despite there being no real change in its prospects, and no news that would justify significant increases, its share price increased from $0.45 to a high of $4.75 on relatively heavy volume during the trading period.
The panel also found that McLeary made false or misleading statements to commission staff about a payment he received from Narvinder Singh Patric Virk that the panel found were proceeds of the manipulation.
The panel directed McLeary, Hainey and Williams to make submissions on sanctions according to the schedule set out in the findings. Allegations against Timothy John McLeary and Erik John Benson, who were also named in the notice of hearing, were dismissed by the panel.
Virk and Malkeet Singh Bains, who were named in the amended notice of hearing, settled with the Executive Director in May 2012 (2012 BCSECCOM 189 and 2012 BCSECCOM 202). They admitted that they should have known that their actions led to a misleading appearance of trading activity in or an artificial price for Sungro shares.
Karnjit Singh Bahd settled with the Executive Director in May 2011 after he admitted that he lied in two separate interviews with BCSC investigators about his role in reimbursing seed shareholders for their purchase of Sungro shares (2011 BCSECCOM 243).
Five seed shareholders, Parvin Kaur Dhudwal, Amrik Singh Bahd, Kulbir Singh Uppal (a.k.a. Kelly Uppal), Gurpreet Kaur Jhutty, and Paul Uppal, settled with the Executive Director in November 2010 after they admitted they gave false or misleading statements to BCSC investigators about their purchase of Sungro shares (2010 BCCSECCOM 621).
You may view the findings decision on our website www.bcsc.bc.ca by typing Mark Aaron McLeary, Timothy John McLeary, Robert Hainey, Jerry Williams, Erik John Benson or 2014 BCSECCOM 505 in the search box. The settlement agreements referred to above are also available on our website.
Please visit the Canadian Securities Administrators’ Disciplined Persons List for information relating to persons disciplined by provincial securities regulators, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA).
About the British Columbia Securities Commission (www.bcsc.bc.ca)
The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:
- A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
- A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital
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Richard Gilhooley, Media Relations
604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free)
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