U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19684 / May 2, 2006
SEC v. Marnie L. Sharpe and Leonard P. Leclerc, Case No. c06-2938 (N.D. Cal. filed May 2, 2006)
SEC Charges Insider Trading in Stock of Bay Area Biotech Company
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a Bay Area woman and her father with insider trading based on their advance knowledge of a biopharmaceutical company's confidential clinical trial results. According to the Commission, the woman learned about the favorable trial results from a close friend, a senior executive of South San Francisco biotechnology firm Renovis, Inc. She immediately passed the news to her father, who bought Renovis stock and reaped $42,000 in illegal profits when Renovis' public disclosure of the trial results sent the stock soaring. Without admitting or denying the allegations, the father and daughter have agreed to pay disgorgement and penalties of over $120,000.
The Commission's complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, charges Marnie L. Sharpe, 39, of Burlingame, California and her father, Leonard P. Leclerc, 68, of Truckee, California with insider trading. According to the complaint, on the morning of May 2, 2005, Sharpe was told by a close friend, a senior executive at Renovis, that he had just learned that the company's leading product candidate had achieved positive results in clinical drug trials. The executive warned her that the information was highly confidential and that she could not buy Renovis stock or share the news with anyone. The Commission alleges that, unbeknownst to the executive, Sharpe shared the confidential information with her father directly after hanging up the phone with her friend and later that day sent a $10,000 wire transfer to her father's brokerage account. The complaint further alleges that after speaking with Sharpe, Leclerc immediately called his broker and, after liquidating certain mutual fund holdings on May 3, purchased $60,000 of Renovis stock. When Renovis announced the positive trial results on the morning of May 4, the company's share price nearly doubled and Leclerc netted illegal profits of almost $42,000.
Leclerc has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle the charges - disgorgement of over $43,000 in illegal profits and interest, plus a civil penalty of almost $42,000. Sharpe has agreed to pay a civil penalty of almost $42,000 for passing on the news to her father.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the National Association of Securities Dealers in this matter.