U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19028 / January 10, 2005
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Thom Calandra, Case No. C05 00135 JCS (N.D. Cal. filed January 10, 2005)
SEC BRINGS FRAUD CHARGES AGAINST FORMER CBS MARKETWATCH COLUMNIST THOM CALANDRA FOR ILLEGAL TRADING SCHEME
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.
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, 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 (Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder), and from further violations of Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, which prohibits the non-disclosure of compensation received for providing publicity about a security. Calandra also will disgorge $416,109.58 in illegal trading profits and prejudgment interest and will pay a civil penalty of $125,000.