Martha Stewart, the high profile founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, settled civil charges with the SEC on Monday regarding charges of insider trading brought against her several years ago.
The settlement of the case was for $195,000 in fines and included a ban from becoming a director of a public company for five years.
In 2000, Stewart sold her shares in Imclone Systems a day before adverse news about the company was released. This led to an investigation by the SEC, which alleged that Stewart had engaged in insider trading. Charges against her were formally made in 2003.
This settlement achieves everything we sought to accomplish in pursuing this case, said Mark Schonfeld, director of the SEC's northeast regional office, which pursued the negotiations. The combination of monetary relief and future professional restrictions serve both to sanction the defendants' insider trading and to restrict them from future positions of investor trust.
Martha Stewart, labelled by the New York Magazine as the â€˜definitive American woman of our timeâ€™ in 1995 had established a powerful market by turning household chores into a multibillion dollar market. While her image may have suffered by the charges brought against her, whe managed to bounce back after her release. Recently, she released a new line of home models for KB Home. She is also developing an upscale line of home-wares for Federated Department Stores.
A statement from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia noted that the company is very happy that the SEC action has been resolved. The settlement allows Martha to continue in her role as founder and as the creative force behind the brand. With her strategic vision in design and style as well as in expanding our business opportunities, she is a tremendous asset to this company.