Does a Securities Agent Commit An Unlawful Act If He Knowingly Makes False or Misleading Statements In Commission Filings ?

In Ardolino v. Pennsylvania Securities Commission, 145 Pa. Commw. 40, 602 A.2d 438 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1992), the Commission found that a securities agent violated Section 407(a) of the Act because he made false or misleading statements in Commission filings. 70 P.S. 1-407. On appeal, the securities agent argued that the Commission's finding was erroneous because it failed to prove that he knowingly made the false or misleading statement in his filings. The agent explained that his attorney prepared all the documents, including the affidavits, and that he signed them without knowing what they contained. This Court held the agent's actions were wilful. Though the Act did not define "wilful" at that time, the Court observed that the Criminal Code equated the term with "knowing." The court found that the securities agent signed and filed the affidavits stating that he had sent the rescission letters to the investors when, in fact, he had not. Thus, the agent "had to have known" that he did not actually send the letters. Ardolino, 602 A.2d at 441.