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Ex-MarketWatch Columnist Settles with SEC

Former columnist Thom Calandra has agreed to pay $540,000 to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint.

The SEC said Monday that Calandra, without admitting any wrongdoing, will pay over $400,000 in "illegal trading profits," plus a $125,000 civil penalty.

The SEC charged that Calandra had "betrayed his reader's trust," by using his column, "The Cassandra Report," to make over $400,000 in profits by "scalping"--buying low-priced shares in thinly traded stocks, then selling them after he had promoted them in the newsletter to artificially inflate the price.

According to the SEC, "from March to December 2003, Calandra followed this "Buy-Write-Sell" pattern for 23 different stocks that he covered in The Calandra Report, without disclosing his actions to his readers."

Calandra said of the resolutoin: “I am happy to have finally reached a settlement with the SEC on this matter. It has been a challenging year, to put it mildly, and I do not wish to expose my family to a protracted public dispute with the Commission on this matter.... I am happy to have preserved intact my ability to pursue my life’s work – writing and publishing, with no prohibitions against my sitting on the boards of publicly traded companies, should I so desire.”