SEC Charges Ex-Loan Officer with Oak Hill Financial, Inc., 3 Others with Insider Trading

Jack Humphrey, Regulatory journalist
January 30, 2012 /

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged four people with insider trading in the securities of Oak Hill Financial, Inc. ahead of a July 20, 2007 announcement that Oak Hill would be acquired by WesBanco, Inc. (Nasdaq: WSBC).

The Commission alleges that Robert Ward, who at the time was a loan officer at Oak Hill, tipped his friend, Benjamin Lewis, about the anticipated merger. Benjamin Lewis then tipped his father, Stanley Lewis, who then tipped his daughter, Jamie Lewis. The Lewises made approximately $100,000 from their illegal trading in Oak Hill.

According to the suit, Robert Ward knowingly or recklessly tipped his childhood friend Benjamin Lewis about an imminent merger between Oak Hill and WesBanco. Benjamin Lewis tipped his father, Stanley Lewis, who then tipped his daughter, Jamie Lewis. The Lewises began purchasing Oak Hill stock. All total, Benjamin Lewis, Stanley Lewis and Jamie Lewis realized illicit profits of approximately $108,000.

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, the four settling defendants have offered to settle the case by consenting to the entry of final judgments.

Benjamin Lewis will pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling $50,209.77. Stanley Lewis will pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling $54,715.77. Jamie Lewis will pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling $17,564.70.

Robert Ward is jointly and severally liable with the Lewises for disgorgement and prejudgment interest, all of which has been waived based on a demonstrated inability to pay. A penalty has not been imposed on Robert Ward based on a demonstrated inability to pay. Benjamin Lewis will pay a civil penalty of $44,574.55. Stanley Lewis will pay a civil penalty of $48,842.66. Jamie Lewis will pay a civil penalty of $14,995.58.

The SEC acknowledges the assistance of FINRA in the investigation of this matter.

 

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