SEC Files Lawsuit Against Former Apple Executive for Insider Trading

The Apple logo takes corporeal form outside an Apple store

The Apple logo takes corporeal form outside an Apple store

"Levoff's alleged exploitation of his access to Apple's financial information was particularly egregious given his responsibility for implementing the company's insider trading compliance policy", Antonia Chion, associate director of the SEC's division of enforcement, said in a statement.

The regulator claims Levoff received confidential information about the tech giant's quarterly earnings as part of a review of draft materials, and then used that information to buy and sell Apple shares.

Mr Levoff's senior position meant. When the news became public, Apple's share price dropped by more than 4 percent-selling early avoided losses of approximately $345,000.

Levoff faces one count of securities fraud, carrying a maximum 20-year prison term and a $5 million fine. According to a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, as head of the company's corporate law group, Levoff was responsible for ensuring compliance with Apple's insider trading policy, as well as determining the criteria for those employees - including himself - restricted from trading around quarterly earnings announcements. He was also chair of the company's Disclosure Committee - where he was was privy to "material nonpublic information about Apple's financial results" - from September 2008 until July 2018, when he was placed on leave. He was sacked from Apple in September 2018.

The SEC alleges that Levoff, on at least three occasions in 2015 and 2016, traded Apple stock relying on insider information. Additionally, Levoff sent emails notifying employees about a blackout period in which they were prohibited from trading Apple securities, immediately before his insider trading in 2011, the suit says. In those instances, the lawsuit states Levoff made about $245,000 in profit.

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Federal prosecutors say Gene Levoff, Apple's senior director of corporate law until past year, used advance information about the company's earnings to trade its shares ahead of three quarterly reports in 2015 and 2016.

The SEC is demanding Levoff pay a sum equal to the profits made and losses avoided over the last five years, along with a penalty of three times that amount.

Apple has yet to release an official comment on the matter.

The charges against Levoff were filed in New Jersey, where authorities said servers were located for firms that handled Levoff's illegal trades.

The cases are U.S. v. Levoff, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 19-mag-03507; and SEC v. Levoff in the same court, No. 19-05536.

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