INSIDER TRADER RETURNS STOLEN MONEY
return the money
An elderly woman inherited a property far away from where she lived. She contacted a local agent, a member of a big-name franchise network. The agent said the home was worth around $200,000.
The lady agreed to place the property for sale with the agent at that price.
Within a few days, the agent told the lady that he had "an interstate buyer" who was prepared to pay the $200,000 'asking price' for the property.
The property was sold and the agent charged the elderly lady a commission.
But here's what was going on behind-the-scenes.
The "buyer" for the property was a company that had been set up by the agent in another state. As soon as the property was bought from the lady, it was immediately re-sold for $230,000.
The agent had, effectively, stolen $30,000 from an elderly lady. Plus charged her a commission.
Following a tip-off, Neil Jenman investigated the case and notified the elderly lady about what had happened. She was shocked. Neil contacted the agent who threatened him with severe legal action. The agent had a reputation for being violent. Neil was told to back off or "face the consequences".
Neil then contacted the media and the agent was exposed on national television. The authorities later became involved. The agent was fined $2,000 (that's right, two thousand dollars) and banned permanently from holding a license.
The boss of the agency (whose lawyers had previously sent Neil Jenman some unfriendly letters) sent a cheque to the elderly lady for $30,000. He also refunded the commission. He realised that it is not right to charge someone a commission for stealing from them.
Unfortunately, in most insider trading cases, the amount stolen is far more than $30,000. Most of the agents who engage in this sort of theft refuse to return the money. They prefer to ride out the media storm. Sometimes the profits can be as much as a million dollars. The public shame is a price that some agents seem willing to pay for such huge profits. Such agents should, of course, be in jail.