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SEC accuses former Apple lawyer of insider trading

Minneapolis readers might be interested to know that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a former attorney for Apple Inc. with insider trading. The charges were filed on Feb. 13 by the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

According to court filings, the defendant used his high-ranking position as corporate secretary at the California-based technology giant to trade stocks ahead of earnings reports. As a result of this insider information, he was allegedly able to earn a total of $382,000. One example of his illegal trading activities occurred when he sold around $10 million of Apple stock just before a July 2015 earnings report that caused the stock to dip by 4 percent. The move allegedly saved him $345,000. The trades were apparently made through brokerage firms TD Ameritrade and First Republic.

The defendant's job at Apple was to ensure that the company complied with securities laws and to provide legal guidance as it prepared SEC filings and financial reports. He was fired in September 2018. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $5 million. Apple was not charged in the case.

As this case demonstrates, individuals charged with embezzlement or insider trading could face harsh consequences, including decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines. As a result, defendants facing such charges may benefit from working with a criminal defense attorney familiar with white-collar crimes. The attorney could carefully investigate the case and search for details that could be used in the defendant's favor. In some circumstances, this information may lead to charges being dropped. In others, it could be used to negotiate a plea deal that mitigates the charges and penalties.

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