The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that Microsoft Senior Manager Brian Jorgenson has been charged with insider trading. Jorgenson is accused of using confidential information about Microsoft to influence stock trades.
The SEC believes that Jorgenson leaked privileged information about upcoming Microsoft announcements to his friend Sean Stokke, who is also begin charged with insider trading. Stokke is accused of trading stock based on this information and splitting the profits from his trade with Jorgenson.
The SEC estimates that the pair made $393,125 in profit from their insider trading scheme. The SEC also alleges that the trading was done to raise the money for Stokke and Jorgenson to open a hedge fund.
“Abusing access to Microsoft’s confidential information and generating unlawful trading profits is not a wise or legal business model for starting a hedge fund,” said Daniel Hawke, chief the Market Abuse Unit at the SEC. “We thwarted the misguided plans of Jorgenson and Stokke as they sought to illegally profit at others’ expense.”
The SEC cites three specific occasions in which Jorgenson and Stokke engaged in insider trading.
One involves investing in Barnes & Noble common stock shortly before Microsoft’s announcement of its $300 million investment in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary. The pair are estimated to have made close to $185,000 from that trade.
Another incident involves Stokke and Jorgenson shorting Microsoft stock just before the company announced its fourth quarter earnings miss this summer. This earned the pair more than $195,000.
A third, smaller transaction saw the pair buy options in a Microsoft-heavy fund before the company’s announcement of its solid first-quarter earnings back in October.
Jorgenson and Stokke now face having to pay back all of the profits made from the insider trades, plus interest. The SEC is also seeking an officer-and-director bar against Jorgenson, which would prevent him from serving as an officer or director of any publicly traded company.
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