SEC Charges Three Individuals with Insider Trading
On July 9th, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) charged three individuals with insider trading in advance of an announcement by Long Blockchain Company (formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea Co.) that it was going to “pivot” from its existing beverage business to blockchain technology, which caused the company’s stock price to soar.
According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Eric Watson, an undisclosed control person of Long Blockchain who helped drive this business change within the company and signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the company’s business plans, tipped his friend and broker, Oliver Barret-Lindsay, of such plans, including by sharing with him a draft of the company’s press release.
Barret-Lindsay, in turn, allegedly passed the material nonpublic information on to his friend, Gannon Giguiere.
Within hours of receiving this confidential information, Giguiere purchased 35,000 shares of Long Blockchain stock. According to the complaint, the company’s stock price skyrocketed after the press release was issued, spiking more than 380% intraday. Within two hours of the announcement, Giguiere sold his shares for $162,500 in illicit profits.
The SEC’s complaint charges Watson, Barret-Lindsay, and Giguiere with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and seeks permanent injunctions and civil penalties as to all defendants, and, additionally, an officer and director bar as to Watson.
The SEC previously charged Barret-Lindsay and Giguiere in connection with their alleged role in a stock manipulation scheme, involving Eco Science Solutions, Inc (ESSI) and Kelvin Medical, Inc. (KVMD), which is currently in litigation.
According to court records, Giguiere conspired to pump up the price and volume of these stocks through manipulative trading and/or a stock promotion website designed to get innocent investors interested in buying the stock. After the stock prices rose and he dumped the shares, Giguiere pocketed more than $10 million in fraudulent proceeds from these schemes.
The same indictment charges Oliver Lindsay of Grand Cayman with participating in the Kelvin Medical scheme, including by trading the conspirators’ stock through an offshore brokerage account in the Cayman Islands.
Both Lindsay and Giguiere have since pled guilty. Giguiere’s sentencing has been continued several times and is now scheduled to take place on September 20, 2021. His pre-sentencing reports are all sealed. So, he may be cooperating with authorities.
Additionally, the Commission revoked Long Blockchain’s securities registration on Feb. 19, 2021, pursuant to Section 12(j) of the Exchange Act.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as and does not constitute legal advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.