PR Exec Accused of Insider Trading

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A business radio show host who is CEO of a public relations firm used inside information about an FDIC-assisted takeover of United Commercial Bank to make $43,800 from inside trades, the SEC claims in court.
     The SEC accused Renee White Fraser, 60, of Santa Monica, of securities fraud, in Federal Court.
     The SEC claims Fraser bought 10,000 shares of East West Bancorp after the bank shared nonpublic information with Fraser’s firm, Fraser Communications, about a plan to acquire United.
     Pasadena-based East West Bancorp contacted Fraser Communication in the fall of 2009 to provide PR and marketing work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-assisted deal, the SEC says.
     It claims six employees at the public relations firm agreed to sign confidentiality agreements before Fraser was hired.
     “On October 16, 2009, the morning following EWBC’s [East West Bancorp] engagement of Fraser Communications, Fraser purchased 10,000 EWBC shares through her brokerage account at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Fraser paid an average price of approximately $ 9.0232 per share,” the complaint states.
     Fraser sold 7,500 shares on Nov. 10, 2009, days after East West Bancorp announced the buyout of United through the FDIC-assisted deal, and the day after its share price jumped by almost 55 percent, the SEC says.
     She sold the rest of her shares in the summer of 2011, for combined profits of $43,868, according to the complaint.
     “In breach of her duty to EWBC and its shareholders, Fraser used this material nonpublic information for her own benefit to trade in EWBC stock in advance of the announcement of the FDIC-assisted transaction,” the SEC says.
     The SEC said Fraser settled for $91,000, consented to a permanent injunction, and agreed not to serve as an officer or director of a public company.
     Fraser hosts a business radio show on CBS, and was called one of the “50 Most Influential Women” by Los Angeles Magazine, according to the Fraser Communications website.
     Renee White Fraser could not immediately be reached for comment.

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