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16-051MR Court reduces jail time for New South Wales man sentenced for market manipulation
The Court of Criminal Appeal in Sydney has upheld an appeal by Nigel Derek Heath against the sentence imposed on him by the District Court on 25 September 2015. (refer: 15-271MR)
Following pleas of guilty to two charges, Mr Heath was sentenced by the District Court to 2 years imprisonment for the market manipulation offence and 18 months imprisonment for the matched trade offence. After serving 9 months, Mr Heath was to be released on a recognizance release order, with self-surety in the amount of $10,000, to be of good behaviour for a period of 18 months.
Mr Heath filed an application for leave to appeal against his sentence on 25 November 2015.
The Court of Criminal Appeal resentenced Mr Heath to 18 months imprisonment for the market manipulation offence and 18 months imprisonment for the matched trade offence. Mr Heath has served 5 months imprisonment and was released on 25 February 2016 on a recognizance release order in the sum of $10,000, to be of good behaviour for a period ending on 24 June 2017.
The charges against Mr Heath related to his trading in shares and contracts for difference (CFDs) in four resource companies between 16 February 2012 and 11 October 2013. Over these 20 months Mr Heath traded through nine separate share trading and CFD trading accounts.
Between 16 February 2012 and 19 August 2013 Mr Heath carried out 138 transactions involving financial products relating to Petsec Energy Limited (PSA) that had the effect of artificially increasing the price for trading in PSA shares on the ASX. While the average value of the 138 transactions was $496, each transaction increased the PSA share price by between 4% and 11.5%, and increased the value of Mr Heath's shareholding in PSA by between $15,878 and $46,928.
Between 2 July 2012 and 11 October 2013 Mr Heath also caused 30 simultaneous buy and sell transactions involving shares and CFDs relating to PSA, Leyshon Resources Limited, Malagasy Minerals Limited and Orca Energy Ltd. These transactions had the effect of artificially increasing the price for trading in those shares on the ASX. These trades, commonly referred to as 'matched trades', caused an increase to the price of shares traded on the ASX of between 3.1% and 6.9%.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted this matter.