SEC Tames Lion Gate’s Illegal Short Sales

Oct 8 2008 | 9:58am ET

The Securities and Exchange Commission has tightened the noose around another firm accused of illegal short selling.

This time, Los Angeles-based Lion Gate’s Kenneth Rickel has been fined by the SEC. The regulator alleges that Rickel used shares purchased in 14 registered public offerings—including American Capital Strategies, Gasco Energy, and Randgold Resources—to cover short sales that occurred during the five business days before the pricing of those offerings.

The SEC alleges that in each instance, Rickel engaged in transactions that created the appearance that the shares covering the restricted period short sales were purchased on the open market.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Rickel realized profits of at least $207,291 from the illegal short sales.

“The Commission is committed to curbing the abuse of short selling,” said Linda Thomsen, director of the SEC’s enforcement division. “Traders who attempt to hide their violations of the securities laws through sham transactions or other schemes will be held accountable.”

The SEC is seeking permanent injunction, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against Rickel.

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