This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

SEC Charges Ex-First Solar IR Exec With Violating Reg FD

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday charged Lawrence D. Polizzotto, a former First Solar (FSLR - Get Report) investor relations executive, with violating Regulation FD for disclosing non-public details about the status of a key government loan to a select group of analysts and investors.

Polizzotto indicated in phone conversations with some analysts in and investors in September 2011 that First Solar was unlikely to receive a much-anticipated loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy for one of its largest solar projects, in violation of fair disclosure requirements, the SEC said.

He agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the SEC's charges, without admitting or denying the findings. The SEC said did not bring an enforcement action against First Solar because of "the company's extraordinary cooperation with the investigation among several other factors."

The disclosure of non-public information was first reported by TheStreet on September 21, 2011, in an article by Eric Rosenbaum, who confirmed with analysts covering First Solar's stock that the company had told them it would not seek a $1.9 billion federal loan for is its 550 megawwatt Topaz project, one of the largest solar projects ever to be constructed.

The revelation to some that the company would not receive a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy caused First Solar shares to slip about 7% on Sept., 21.

The company's shares fell another 6% the following day, after it confirmed through a press release that the Topaz project would not receive a government loan guarantee.

That day, Rosenbaum followed his initial reporting with a column titled Did First Solar Just Walk a Fine Reg FD Line?

The SEC's allegations on Friday indicate that Polizzotto did cross a line in disclosing material information to a handful of analysts and investors, but not the wider public.

"Polizzotto offered previously undisclosed information to select analysts and institutional investors and left the rest of First Solar's investors in the dark," Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC's Los Angeles Office, said in a statement. "All investors, regardless of their size or relationship with the company, are entitled to the same information at the same time."

According to the SEC's order, Polizzotto violated Regulation FD during one-on-one phone conversations with approximately 20 sell-side analysts and institutional investors.

The SEC said that when First Solar discovered Polizzotto's selective disclosure, it promptly issued a press release before the market's open on Sept., 22. First Solar then quickly self-reported the misconduct to the SEC and undertook remedial measures such as additional Regulation FD training for employees responsible for public disclosure.

"First Solar remains rigorously committed to compliance with SEC regulations," the company said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
FSLR $64.18 0.00%
AAPL $95.01 0.00%
FB $99.75 0.00%
GOOG $682.74 0.00%
TSLA $147.99 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,027.05 -177.92 -1.10%
S&P 500 1,853.44 -26.61 -1.42%
NASDAQ 4,283.7530 -79.3910 -1.82%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs