Five B.C. residents fined $21.5M, banned from trading amid stock scam

VANCOUVER – Five British Columbia residents have been fined a total of $21.5 million over what the B.C. Securities Commission calls a stock manipulation of an Ontario company.

The commission says Thalbinder Poonian was the mastermind in a plan to artificially inflate the price of shares on the TSX Venture Exchange of OSE Corp.

In a decision released Wednesday, a commission panel determined the group obtained over $7 million by selling OSE shares to unsuspecting buyers, including clients of Phoenix Credit Risk Management Consulting Inc.

The panel says Phoenix and its principals were paid commissions ranging from 10 to 28 per cent each time they arranged for a client to buy the shares.

Poonian was fined $10 million, while Sharon Poonian, Robert Leyk and Manjit Sihota must pay $3.5 million in penalties and Perminder Sihota has been fined $1 million.

The panel has also ordered that they pay $7.3 million obtained as a result of their misconduct, and all five have been permanently banned from the B.C. capital markets.