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COMMONWEALTH v. MASON (03/14/55)

March 14, 1955

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MASON, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 97, Jan. T., 1955, from judgment of Superior Court, October T., 1953, No. 296, affirming judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lancaster County, Dec. T., 1952, No. 16, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Edward N. Mason, alias Edward Mason. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Chas. W. Eaby, with him Chas. W. Eaby, Jr., for appellant.

Daniel J. McCauley, Jr., Special Deputy Attorney General, with him William C. Storb, District Attorney, and Frank F. Truscott, Attorney General, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 381 Pa. Page 310]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Defendant was indicted for violating The Pennsylvania Securities Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 748, 70 PS § 31, et seq., as re-enacted and amended by the Act of July 10, 1941, P.L. 317, 70 PS § 31, et seq. After waiving a jury trial he was tried and convicted and was sentenced to pay a fine of $200. and undergo imprisonment for a period of three months. The Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence of the lower Court and we allowed an appeal.

[ 381 Pa. Page 311]

The pertinent section of the Securities Act, supra, is § 22: "Any dealer or salesman who shall in this State, without being registered hereunder, ... (b) engage in the business of inducing holders of securities to effect the sale thereof through a person registered hereunder or otherwise, directly or indirectly,*fn1 in order to produce funds to pay for other investments sold by such dealer or by such salesman for a dealer, ... shall be guilty of a misdemeanor ...."*fn2

The testimony shows that the defendant called on Christian R. Martin, at his home in Lancaster County, three times during the early part of 1952. The evidence is meagre and does not disclose at whose instance these visits were made. During these visits to Martin's home, Martin, who was 77 years of age, endorsed and delivered to Mason the following securities: 40 shares of Consumers Power Company, 20 shares of Radio Corporation of America, 12 shares of Central Illinois Light Company, 420 shares of Allied Chemical Company, Inc., 600 shares of Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 100 shares Kropp Forge Company. Defendant was never registered as a dealer or a salesman for any registered dealer with the Pennsylvania Securities Commission. Defendant gave Martin in return for his securities leases on 200 acres of land in San Miguel County, New Mexico. The original lease covering the New Mexico lands showed that the annual rental for 3,760 acres amounted to 10› an acre. The securities turned over by Martin had a market value (calculated at the time of their delivery) of $5,744. and all but two of these were listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The disparity in value is obviously tremendous. The defendant told Mr.

[ 381 Pa. Page 312]

Martin that he needed the money for the purpose of investing in the Tri-State Petroleum Co., Inc., an oil venture.

Defendant's principal contention on this appeal is that since no money passed, the transactions with Martin involved "an even exchange of certain stocks for certain leases" and was consequently not a violation of ...


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