A British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) panel has fined and permanently banned two men, including a former investment advisor, for their role in an alleged pump and dump scheme, according to a decision on sanctions published Thursday.

The decision orders David Tuan Seng Lim, a former advisor, be permanently banned and ordered to pay an $800,000 penalty. His associate, Michael Mugford, was also banned, and ordered to pay $375,000. BCSC staff sought a $1.2 million penalty against Lim and $700,000 from Mugford, along with market bans.

The sanctions stem from a ruling, which was handed down in June, that the two men violated securities rules for their involvement with a pump and dump scheme involving a company called Urban Barns from November 2009 to February 2010. Lim was an investment advisor who was registered under the Securities Act during that time.

The BCSC panel found that the pair helped create an artificial price in the company’s stock through a stock touting campaign that generated about US$4.8 million in trading profit.

In its decision on sanctions, the panel said, “Those who engage in market manipulation represent serious risks to our capital markets.”

The panel also said that Lim abused his status as a registrant and used various intermediaries to hide his misconduct.

“Lim represents a very significant risk to our capital markets. He has demonstrated a lack of fitness to participate in our capital markets, as a registrant or as a director or officer of an issuer,” the panel said.