NEW YORK (AP) — A former U.S. congressman from Indiana, technology company executives, a man training to be an FBI agent and an investment banker were among nine people charged in four separate, unrelated trafficking schemes. insider trading revealed Monday with the disclosure of allegations in New York City.
It was one of the biggest attacks by law enforcement on insider trading in a decade, and a prosecutor and other federal officials promised new enthusiasm for similar prosecutions in the future. They said the deception resulted in millions of dollars in illegal profits for the defendants located on both coasts and in the central United States.
Stephen Buyer was accused in court papers of engaging in insider trading during the $26.5 billion merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, announced in April 2018. An indictment identified him as someone who misappropriated secrets he learned as a consultant for earn $350,000 illegally.
Buyer, 63, of Noblesville, Indiana, was arrested Monday in his home state. He served on committees that oversee the telecommunications industry while he was a Republican congressman from 1993 to 2011.
He was described as making purchases of Sprint stock in March 2018, just one day after attending a golf outing with a T-Mobile executive, who told him about the company’s non-public plan to acquire Sprint, according to a civil case filed against Buyer by the Securities and Exchange Commission in federal court in Manhattan.
Authorities said he was also involved in the illegal trade in 2019 before the acquisition of Navigant Consulting Inc. by the consulting and advisory firm Guidehouse. The documents say he took advantage of his work as a consultant and lobbyist for illegal profits.
His attorney, Andrew Goldstein, said in a statement: “Congressman Buyer is innocent. His stock transactions were lawful. He hopes to be vindicated quickly.”
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams told a news conference that the cases, in addition to several other recently announced crackdowns on insider trading, represent a follow-up to his promise to be “relentless in rooting out crime in our financial markets.”
“We have zero tolerance, zero tolerance for cheating in our markets,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“When insiders like Buyer, an attorney, former prosecutor, and retired congressman, monetize their access to material nonpublic information, as alleged in this case, they not only violate federal securities laws, they also undermine public trust.” on the fairness of our markets,” Grewal said.
In a second prosecution, three Silicon Valley tech executives were accused of trading insider information on corporate mergers that one of them learned through his employer.
One indictment accused Amit Bhardwaj, 49, of San Ramon, California, who was the chief information security officer for Lumentum Holdings Inc., of using secrets to trade illegally and then giving the information to criminal associates, including four friends. . The SEC said Bhardwaj and his friends made more than $5.2 million in ill-gotten gains by operating before two announcements of corporate takeovers.
An attorney for Bhardwaj did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
In a third case, Seth Markin of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, a man who was training to be an FBI agent, allegedly stole inside information from his then-girlfriend, who worked at a major Washington DC law firm. According to court documents, he and a friend made more than $1.4 million in illegal profits after learning that Merck & Co. was acquiring Pandion Therapeutics. It was unclear who would represent Markin in court.
In a fourth indictment, a New York-based investment banker was accused of sharing secrets about potential mergers with another person, with the understanding that the pair would share illegal proceeds of about $280,000.
Authorities said seven of the nine defendants were arrested Monday, while two were arrested earlier.
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