Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 2005 – LAWFUEL – Best for law news – The Securities and Exchange Commission today brought and settled civil fraud charges against Thom Calandra, a former columnist for the Internet website CBS MarketWatch.com. The
Commission alleges that Calandra profited by secretly selling stocks shortly
after his investment newsletter’s positive recommendations of the stocks
caused their prices to rise. In settling the matter, Calandra, who lives in
Sausalito, California, will pay over $540,000 in disgorgement and penalties.
Helane L. Morrison, District Administrator of the SEC’s San Francisco
Office, stated, “Calandra betrayed his readers’ trust by surreptitiously
using his newsletter, The Calandra Report, to bolster his personal trading
profits. Calandra’s readers were entitled to know about his trading
activity, so that they could evaluate the credibility and impartiality of
Calandra’s investment advice for themselves.”
According to the Commission’s complaint, filed in the Northern District of
California, Calandra made over $400,000 in illegal profits through a
practice known as “scalping”-buying shares of thinly-traded, small-cap
companies, writing highly favorable newsletter profiles recommending the
companies to his newsletter subscribers, and then selling the majority of
his shares when the increased demand generated by his favorable columns
drove up the stock price. From March to December 2003, Calandra followed
this “Buy-Write-Sell” pattern for 23 different stocks that he covered in The
Calandra Report, without disclosing his actions to his readers.
In addition, the Commission alleged that Calandra failed to tell his readers
that he had received compensation from a stock promoter affiliated with two
mining companies that Calandra profiled in The Calandra Report. The
compensation took the form of heavily-discounted shares in the two
companies-shares which Calandra later sold at a substantial profit after the
stock prices rose following his favorable newsletter write-ups.
“Calandra’s violations were serious, but the penalty amount reflects
Calandra’s cooperation with the staff’s investigation,” said Marc J. Fagel,
Assistant District Administrator of the SEC’s San Francisco Office.
Calandra, without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission’s
complaint, has agreed to a permanent injunction from further violations of
the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Calandra also will
disgorge $416,109.58 in illegal trading profits and prejudgment interest and
will pay a civil penalty of $125,000.