Improper IMs Net Analyst $75,000 Fine

A research analyst was fined after he allegedly passed false rumors about RF Micro in 2002.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

January 14, 2005

1 Min Read

Stop. What is the instant message that you're about to send worth? Does $9,375 sound too high? That's what each of eight IMs cost stock analyst Walter P. Piecyk Jr. when he was fined for allegedly sending damaging "rumors" to institutional investors.

NASD, the privately run industry regulator that polices the securities industry, accused Piecyk, a research analyst for Fulcrum Global Partners LLC, of passing a "false and sensational rumor" about RF Micro Devices Inc. to eight companies on Aug. 22, 2002. NASD disclosed today that it had fined Piecyk $75,000.

The regulatory agency issued a statement saying that the analyst has neither admitted nor denied the charge. Piecyk did not return a call for comment at deadline.

He allegedly spread a "false and sensational rumor" about RF Micro to eight or more Fulcrum clients without conducting a "reasonable inquiry" into the information. Specifically, he is accused of saying that Nokia Corp., a major RF Micro customer, was delaying orders to the company.

At the same time, Piecyk sold short 3,000 shares of RF Micro in a move that netted him $7,815.

RF Micro had a hectic morning that day. Its shares dropped 10%, which NASD attributed in part to Piecyk's efforts, and the trading volume of RF Micro shares was double the daily average, according to NASD. Share prices dropped again after the company issued a statement denying the rumor.

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