Leorah Gavidor 11:30 a.m., Aug. 20
Here's an Example of SEC Nailing the Small Fry, Ignoring the Superrich
In a post today below this one, I describe how San Diego attorney Gary Aguirre is trying to expose the double standard of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency chases wee offenders and utterly ignores the superrich who use inside information. Today, the SEC announced that Harry H. Yim has agreed not to violate securities laws. When he was with biotech Invitrogen, Yim had heard in a meeting that the company was going to announce poor results. He sold $79,581 of his stock. Now he has to disgorge that sum and pay an additional civil penalty of the same amount. Contrast that with the SEC's handling of the Peregrine Systems fraud. During the period when the books were cooked, John Moores, former chairman, dumped $487 million worth of stock. Other board members, particularly confidantes of Moores, dumped large amounts. They had been warned by the company lawyer not to sell stock because Peregrine was preparing to make acquisitions and they had inside information. They massively sold anyway. They had sat in on meetings in which the company's dubious accounting was discussed. The SEC has done nothing. Indeed, the attorney handling the Peregrine case for the SEC now works for the law firm that prepared a study at Moores's direction, exonerating board members despite all the evidence. Judges in state and federal civil suits have not let the case go to juries either.