Bhardwaj et al.


Litigation Release No. 26027 / June 13, 2024

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Bhardwaj et al., No. 1:22-cv-06277 (S.D.N.Y. filed July 25, 2022)

SEC Obtains Final Judgments Against Former Chief Information Security Officer and Two Friends for Insider Trading

On June 13, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained final consent judgments against former Chief Information Security Officer Amit Bhardwaj, and his two friends, Srinivasa Kakkera and Abbas Saeedi, whom the SEC previously charged with insider trading that collectively generated more than $3.6 million. 

The SEC’s complaint, filed on July 25, 2022, alleged that Bhardwaj, Kakkera, and Saeedi traded ahead of two corporate acquisition announcements by Bhardwaj’s then-employer Lumentum Holdings Inc. The SEC’s complaint alleged that, through his work at Lumentum, Bhardwaj learned material nonpublic information (“MNPI”) about Lumentum’s plans to first acquire Coherent, Inc. and later to acquire NeoPhotonics Corporation. Based on this MNPI, Bhardwaj allegedly purchased Coherent securities ahead of the January 2021 announcement of Lumentum’s agreement to acquire Coherent. The SEC further alleged that, in October 2021, Bhardwaj shared MNPI about Lumentum’s planned acquisition of NeoPhotonics with his friends Kakkera and Saeedi, who then bought NeoPhotonics securities based on Bhardwaj’s tips. 

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.

Bhardwaj, Kakkera, and Saeedi, each of whom has pleaded guilty in the parallel criminal action United States v. Bhardwaj, et al., 22 Cr. 398 (GHW), consented to entry of the final judgments in the SEC action permanently enjoining them from violations of the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and barring them from serving as officers or directors of public companies, Bhardwaj and Saeedi permanently, and Kakkera for a period of seven-and-a-half years. The final judgments also order Bhardwaj, Kakkera, and Saeedi to disgorge the illicit gains that they made in their own accounts and in other accounts that they controlled – $462,598.91 for Bhardwaj, $2,453,687.99 for Kakkera, and $691,104.73 for Saeedi – with prejudgment interest thereon, the payment of which was deemed satisfied by the forfeiture orders entered in the parallel criminal action.

In light of the disgorgement orders against Bhardwaj, Kakkera, and Saeedi, the SEC voluntarily dismissed its claims for unjust enrichment against relief defendants Gauri Salwan, The Kakkera Family Trust, All US Tacos Inc., and Janya Saeedi.

The litigation is being led by Joshua R. Geller and Lindsay S. Moilanen of the Market Abuse Unit and supervised by Market Abuse Unit Chief Joseph G. Sansone and Preethi Krishnamurthy of the New York Regional Office. 

Last Reviewed or Updated: June 13, 2024