The SEC charged FINRA-registered brokers Chad Edward Wiegand and Akis Costas Eracleous, both formerly of National Planning Corporation in Southern California, with insider trading and federal antifraud violations related to improper stock and options trading of the biotech company Ardea Biosciences Inc., which was acquired by AstraZeneca PLC.
According to the complaint, Wiegand's brother-in-law Michael J. Fefferman served as Ardea's Senior Director of Information Technology and provided Wiegand with material nonpublic information related to pharmaceutical trials, a cancer drug licensing agreement, and AstraZeneca's planned acquisition of Ardea before these actions were publicly announced.
The SEC found that Wiegand passed on the information to Eracleous, and that both brokers acted on the information by purchasing Ardea securities on behalf of brokerage customers, with Eracleous additionally purchasing common stock for himself and tipping off another business associate.
The findings state that the illegal trading profits earned as a result totaled $530,000, and includes ill-gotten commissions as well as common stock proceeds. The SEC release states the three have agreed to settlements and that Wiegand and Eracleous have agreed to be barred from the securities industry.
Wiegand, who lives in Lakeside, California, runs the investment business Wiegand Asset Management, while San Diego-based Eracleous was most recently registered with First Allied Securities, Inc. Both men were previously associated with AIG Financial Advisors, Inc. until December 2008, when they both joined National Planning Corporation. They both separated from the firm in April 2013 (Wiegand was terminated; Eracleous resigned).
A parallel FBI report confirms both defendants pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
If you have invested in Ardea Biosciences/AstraZeneca with former National Planning Corporation brokers Chad Edward Wiegand or Akis Costas Eracleous, or with any other broker or financial adviser whose use of nonpublic and confidential information has led to illicit insider trading or other illegal activity that has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.