The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former partner at an international law firm and his neighbor with making more than $1 million in illicit profits by insider trading around corporate announcements.
The SEC alleges that Walter C. Little accessed confidential documents on his law firm’s internal computer network related to at least 11 impending announcements involving law firm clients, none of which he personally advised or billed for services. Little then allegedly traded in advance of each announcement and often tipped his neighbor Andrew M. Berke with material nonpublic information so he could similarly trade in company stocks before the announcements were made publicly. According to the SEC’s complaint, the insider trading occurred from February 2015 to February 2016.
“As alleged in our complaint, Little used highly-confidential information about his law firm's clients to make more than $1 million for himself and his neighbor through illegal insider trading and tipping,” said Stephanie Avakian, Acting Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York today announced criminal charges against Little and Berke.
The SEC’s complaint charges Little and Berke with violating Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 as well as Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933. The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, penalties, and permanent injunctions.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Richard Kutchey and Gregory Faragasso. The case was supervised by Gerald Hodgkins, and the litigation is being led by Kevin Lombardi and Charles Stodghill. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.