The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged that two top officials of the Franklin Mint in Philadelphia counterfeited information about the company's financial health and that they and two other officials profitted by selling stock before damaging financial news was made public.
A federal judge in Philadelphia yesterday required four present and former Franklin Mint officials to turn over $283,738 in profits the SEC said they had made illegally. The four were permanently enjoined from violating antifraud provisions of federal securities laws and two of the four were also enjoined from violating SEC disclosure laws.
Chief executive officer Charles L. Andes and president Brian G. Harrison, former executive vice president Nelson B. Colton and former vice president and treasurer James M. Doyle consented to the entry of final judgments against them without admitting or denying the SEC's charges.
The SEC alleged that the four were privy to information about the company, the world's largest private maker of commemorative coins, that showed financial difficulties developing beginning in mid-1976. Between Oct. 13 and Dec. 28, 1976, the four sold at least 33,350 shares of the company's common stock at prices between $31.75 and $26.875 a share.
In April 1977, the company publicly announced first-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share and the price of the company's stock dropped from $22.25 to $18 1/8 per share.
These stock transactions violated federal antifraud law, the SEC charged. In addition, the agency said that Andes and Doyle helped prepare misleading information to be filed with the SEC.
Among other things, according to the SEC, the mint included sales made in the first two days of 1977 in the company's 1976 sales. The company also neglected to mention factors behind a reported increase in current and long-term accounts receivable.
The Franklin Mint was merged into Warner Communications Inc. in March 1981 and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of that company. A spokesman for the Franklin Mint said that officials there had no comment on the charges and the settlement.