Attorney, Wall Street Trader, and Middleman Settle SEC Charges in $32 Million Insider Trading Case
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a settlement in a $32 million insider trading case filed by the agency last year against a corporate attorney and a Wall Street trader.
The SEC alleged that the insider trading occurred in advance of at least 11 merger and acquisition announcements involving clients of the law firm where the attorney — Matthew H. Kluger — worked. He and the trader — Garrett D. Bauer — were linked through a mutual friend now identified as Kenneth T. Robinson, who acted as a middleman to facilitate the illegal tips and trades. Kluger and Bauer used public telephones and prepaid disposable mobile phones to communicate with Robinson in an effort to avoid detection. Robinson, now also charged, cooperated in the SEC’s investigation.
Bauer, Kluger, and Robinson each agreed to give up their ill-gotten gains plus interest in order to settle the SEC’s charges. Those amounts under the terms of their consent agreements are approximately $31.6 million for Bauer, $516,000 for Kluger, and $845,000 for Robinson.
"Bauer, Kluger and Robinson schemed to outsmart law enforcement by structuring their relationships and communications to avoid detection and frustrate insider trading detection mechanisms," said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "They were ultimately unsuccessful due to the SEC's sustained efforts to combat hard-to-detect insider trading, particularly among lawyers and other gatekeepers who have solemn duties to maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to them."
In parallel criminal actions brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Bauer, Kluger, and Robinson have all pled guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 4, 2012.
Acknowledging the facts to which they have admitted as part of their guilty pleas, Bauer, Robinson, and Kluger consented to final judgments in the SEC’s civil actions that are subject to court approval. In the proposed final judgments, Bauer would be ordered to disgorge $30,812,796 plus prejudgment interest of $859,135; Kluger would be ordered to disgorge $502,500 plus prejudgment interest of $14,010; and Robinson would be ordered to disgorge $829,129 plus prejudgment interest of $16,106. They also would be permanently enjoined from future violations of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder. Each of the orders of disgorgement will be deemed partially satisfied and offset on a dollar-for-dollar basis by assets seized at the direction of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey based upon orders of forfeiture.
Bauer also has agreed to settle a related SEC administrative proceeding by consenting to the entry of an order that would bar him from association with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent, or nationally recognized statistical rating organization, and from participating in any offering of a penny stock. Kluger agreed to settle a related administrative proceeding by consenting to the entry of an order which would permanently suspend him from appearing or practicing before the SEC as an attorney pursuant to Commission Rule of Practice 102(e).
The terms of the proposed settlement with Robinson reflect credit given to him by the SEC for his substantial assistance and cooperation in the investigation.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Colleen K. Lynch, David W. Snyder and John S. Rymas, members of the Market Abuse Unit in the Philadelphia Regional Office, under the supervision of Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the Market Abuse Unit and Regional Director, and Elaine C. Greenberg, Associate Regional Director for Enforcement in the Philadelphia Regional Office. G. Jeffrey Boujoukos and Scott A. Thompson have been handling the litigation.
The SEC brought this enforcement action in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. The SEC also appreciates the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and Options Regulatory Surveillance Authority.