SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Massachusetts Defendant in Insider Trading Case

Litigation Release No. 24855 / July 24, 2020

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Harold L. Altvater, No. 17-cv-11178-NMG (D. Mass. June 27, 2017)

USA v. Harold L. Altvater, Case No. 17-cr-10216-DJC (D. Mass July 18, 2017)

On July 23, 2020, the U.S. District Court in Boston entered a final consent judgment against Harold Altvater who the SEC charged with insider trading in the stock of Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The SEC's complaint, filed on June 27, 2017, alleged that on three occasions between October 2013 and January 2014, Altvater traded in Ariad's stock on the basis of non-public information learned in advance of announcements about the safety profile of and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decisions regarding Ariad's only FDA-approved drug. According to the SEC's complaint, Altvater learned the information from his wife, an Ariad employee. By purchasing shares ahead of a positive announcement, and selling shares ahead of negative announcements, Altvater allegedly avoided losses and obtained illegal profits totaling over $100,000. Further, the SEC's complaint alleges that Altvater tipped a friend, who also profited by trading Ariad stock on the basis of non-public information learned from Altvater's wife.

In a parallel action, in July 2017 the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts filed criminal insider trading charges against Altvater. In October 2018 he was convicted on three counts of securities fraud after a jury trial and was sentenced on January 22, 2019 to eighteen months in prison and ordered to pay the court sentenced him to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered $115,657 in forfeiture.

Altvater consented to the entry of the final judgment, which permanently enjoins him from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The final judgment also orders disgorgement of $112,569 to be offset by the order of forfeiture imposed in the related criminal case.