BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. regulator issues fines, penalties of $28.8M in stock manipulation scheme

03/18/2015 02:35 EDT | Updated 05/18/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Securities regulators in British Columbia have issued fines and penalties totalling almost $29 million against a group of five B.C. residents for manipulating a stock on the TSX Venture Exchange.

In addition to the fines and penalties, a British Columbia Securities Commission panel also permanently banned all five from the province's capital markets.

In September 2014, the panel found that between September 2007 and March 2009, Thalbinder Singh Poonian, Shailu Sharon Poonian, Robert Joseph Leyk, Manjit Singh Sihota and Perminder Sihota manipulated the share price of OSE Corp.

The Ontario company, whose shares traded on the TSX Venture Exchange, had its head office at a property owned by Perminder Sihota in Delta, B.C.

In its decision, the panel found that the respondents obtained more than $7 million by selling OSE shares to unsuspecting buyers, including clients of Phoenix Credit Risk Management Consulting Inc. and its affiliates, a company based in Richmond Hill, Ont., that provided debt management services. Phoenix and its principals were paid commissions ranging from 10 to 28 per cent each time they arranged for a Phoenix client to buy OSE shares.

"While the respondents' roles in conducting the manipulation varied, each respondent was directly involved in and contributed to the manipulation," the BCSC said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"However, the panel found that Thalbinder Poonian was the mastermind of the scheme and that his conduct was the most egregious,"

Among penalties, the panel also ordered the respondents be jointly and severally liable to pay to the commission $7,332,936 obtained as a result of their misconduct.

Individually, they were ordered to pay administrative penalties ranging from $10 million by Thalbinder Poonian, to $3.5 million by Sharon Poonian, Robert Leyk and Manjit Sihota pay to the commission an administrative penalty of $3.5 million and $1 million by Perminder Sihota.