Fri, 20/05/2005 - 07:17
Hilary L. Shane, a hedge fund manager formerly registered with First New York Securities, LLC (FNY), has been permanently barred by the NASD.
Shane has been banned from associating with any NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) registered firm and will pay more than USD 1.45 million to settle NASD and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges of fraud and insider trading. The charges arise from Shane's purchase and sale of shares in a PIPE transaction.
Sanctions imposed by NASD include the permanent bar and a USD 375,000 fine. Sanctions imposed by the SEC include a one-year suspension from associating with any investment adviser; an injunction from any further violations of securities law; disgorgement of more than USD 296,000 in ill-gotten profits from insider trading; disgorgement of more than USD 356,000 in ill-gotten profits from selling unregistered shares; an SEC civil penalty of USD 296,785, and prejudgment interest of more than USD 125,000.
"This case is part of NASD's ongoing commitment to dealing with abuses in the marketing and trading of PIPE shares," said NASD Vice Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. "These abuses are serious and warrant serious sanctions."
A PIPE ("Private Investment in a Public Equity") is a private offering in which accredited investors agree to purchase restricted, unregistered securities of public companies. Only after the PIPE shares registration is approved by the SEC are investors free to sell them on the open market. PIPE shares can only be offered to "accredited" investors - investors with assets of USD 1 million or more.
NASD found that in September 2001, Maryland's Compudyne Corporation and its placement agent, Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., Inc. (FBR), offered sophisticated investors - on a confidential basis - a PIPE deal proposing to sell 2.45 million shares of common stock, which raised more than USD 29 million.
The restricted stock was offered at the below-market price of USD 12 per share. NASD found that Shane, after agreeing to buy the Compudyne PIPE shares, established a short position in the stock while in possession of material, non-public information and used the PIPE shares, once they were registered, to cover the short position. In addition, NASD found that Shane made false statements to obtain the right to acquire shares in the PIPE transaction and caused extensive violations of NASD's short sale rules by FNY.
On Oct. 8, 2001, Shane and FNY Millennium Partners, L.P., a hedge fund that she managed, obtained the right to buy 475,000 shares in the Compudyne PIPE. NASD found that Shane obtained the shares by falsely certifying in the purchase agreements that she and the hedge fund had no intention of distributing the shares.
The Compudyne PIPE deal was not announced to the public until 11:44 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2001. Between 8:30 a.m. and 11:44 a.m. that day, before the public announcement, Shane and the hedge fund sold short 122,900 shares of Compudyne, while she was in possession of material, non-public information about Compudyne.
By Oct. 29, 2001, when the SEC approved the registration statement that allowed sale of the PIPE shares, Shane had sold short 455,000 shares of Compudyne. When the PIPE shares were registered, Shane and the hedge fund obtained the PIPE shares at $12 per share and then used these newly-registered shares to cover the short position at a profit.
In settling this matter with NASD, Shane neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of NASD's findings. In the SEC proceeding, Shane consented to the entry of a final judgment by the U.S. District Court and an SEC administrative order, without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC's complaint.
NASD's investigation into other individuals and entities involved in the Compudyne PIPE is continuing.
Background Note: NASD is the leading private-sector provider in the USA of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. NASD touches virtually every aspect of the securities business - from registering and educating all industry participants, to examining securities firms, enforcing both NASD rules and the federal securities laws, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and member firms.
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