The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a former Apple lawyer with illegal insider trading on Wednesday (Feb. 13), according to a report by CNBC.
The lawyer, named Gene Levoff, worked at Apple until July 2018, when he was put on leave. He was terminated in September. According to the SEC complaint, he was “responsible for Apple’s compliance with securities laws.”
Levoff’s official title during his tenure was senior director of corporate law and corporate secretary. The lawsuit against him was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
“Levoff also had a previous history of insider trading, having traded on Apple’s material non-public information at least three additional times in 2011 and 2012. For the trading in 2015 and 2016, Levoff profited and avoided losses of approximately $382,000,” the complaint said.
Because of Levoff’s position at Apple, he had access to earnings results that hadn’t been released publicly yet, including information about iPhone sales. He took no heed of an apparent “blackout” period for making transactions, and bought or sold tens of millions of dollars in stock, the complaint said. Levoff was actively trying to sell to avoid downturns in the value of the stock and buy more after positive earnings reports.
“In fact, Levoff shared responsibility for ensuring that employees complied with Apple’s insider trading policies,” the complaint said. “On at least three occasions in 2010 and 2011, Levoff sent emails to company employees notifying them that a blackout period was about to commence and that they were prohibited from trading Apple securities for the duration of the period. In fact, Levoff sent two such emails immediately prior to his insider trading in 2011.”
On February 24, 2011, Levoff wrote in an email, “REMEMBER, TRADING IS NOT PERMITTED, WHETHER OR NOT IN AN OPEN TRADING WINDOW, IF YOU POSSESS OR HAVE ACCESS TO MATERIAL INFORMATION THAT HAS NOT BEEN DISCLOSED PUBLICLY.”