False EDGAR Filer Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Fitbit Manipulation Scheme
Litigation Release No. 24075 / March 22, 2018
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert W. Murray, No. 1:17-cv-03788 (S.D.N.Y. filed May 19, 2017)
United States v. Robert M. Murray, No. 1:17-cr-00452 (S.D.N.Y. filed May 5, 2017)
On March 9, 2018, Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Robert W. Murray, a defendant in a pending SEC litigation, to two years imprisonment in connection with a scheme to manipulate Fitbit securities through false filings on the SEC's EDGAR system. Murray pled guilty on November 7, 2017.
The criminal charges against Murray arose from the same conduct alleged in the complaint the SEC filed on May 19, 2017, the same day the criminal charges were announced. According to the SEC's complaint, Murray allegedly purchased Fitbit call options just minutes before a fake tender offer that he orchestrated was filed on the SEC's EDGAR system purporting that a sham company sought to acquire Fitbit's outstanding shares at a substantial premium. Fitbit's stock price temporarily spiked when the tender offer became publicly available on Nov. 10, 2016, and Murray sold all of his options for a profit of approximately $3,100. Murray took steps to conceal his identity and actual location, including using an alias to create an email account and using an IP address registered to a company located in another state.
The SEC's action was stayed pending the outcome of the criminal case.
The SEC thanks the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their efforts in prosecuting the case.