Seth Markin and Brandon Wong

SEC Charges Former FBI Trainee and His Friend with Insider Trading

Litigation Release No. 25451 /July 26, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Seth Markin and Brandon Wong,

No. 1:22-cv-06276 (S.D.N.Y. filed July 25, 2022)

On July 25, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed insider trading charges against Seth Markin, a former FBI trainee, and his friend Brandon Wong.

According to the SEC's complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, Markin and Wong made approximately $82,000 and $1.3 million, respectively, from illegally trading ahead of the February 2021 announcement of a tender offer by Merck & Co., Inc., to acquire Pandion Therapeutics, Inc. The SEC's complaint alleges that Markin secretly reviewed the binder of deal documents about the planned tender offer from his then-romantic partner, who worked as an associate for a law firm representing Merck on the deal, traded on the material nonpublic information, and tipped his close friend Wong. The complaint alleges that, after the announcement, Wong bought Markin a Rolex watch to thank him for the tip.

The case originated from the SEC Enforcement Division's Market Abuse Unit Analysis and Detection Center, which uses data analysis tools to detect suspicious trading patterns.

In a parallel action, on the same day, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Markin and Wong.

The SEC's complaint charges Markin and Wong with violations of the antifraud provisions of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and of Exchange Act Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 and seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil monetary penalties.

The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, was conducted by Tracy Sivitz, Chevon Walker, John Rymas, and Simona Suh of the Market Abuse Unit, and by Neil Hendelman of the New York Regional office. This case has been supervised by Market Abuse Unit Chief Joseph G. Sansone. Mses. Sivitz, Walker, and Suh will lead the SEC's litigation. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Last Reviewed or Updated: May 31, 2023