SEC Obtains Judgment Against Former Corporate Controller for Tipping Brother-In-Law Ahead of Merger Announcement

Litigation Release No. 25264 / November 15, 2021

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Christopher Clark and William Wright, No. 1:20-cv-01529 (E.D. Va. filed December 11, 2020)

On October 18, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia entered a final consent judgment against William D. Wright of Arlington, VA, the former Corporate Controller of CEB Inc., whom the SEC had charged with insider trading.

The SEC's complaint, filed on December 11, 2020, alleged that Wright learned about an impending acquisition of his company. As alleged, Wright tipped non-public information concerning the acquisition to his brother-in-law, Christopher J. Clark of Arlington, VA. Based on the information tipped by Wright, Clark allegedly purchased highly speculative, out-of-the-money call options. The complaint further alleged that, after the public announcement of the acquisition of CEB for $2.6 billion, Clark liquidated his CEB options and made profits of over $240,000.

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Wright consented to a final judgment ordering a permanent injunction against future violations of the anti-fraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; ordering a civil monetary penalty of $240,934; and barring Wright from serving as an officer or director of a public company for two years.

In a related administrative proceeding based on the entry of the final consent judgment, on November 12, 2021, the SEC issued an order barring Wright from appearing or practicing before the SEC as an accountant pursuant to Commission Rule of Practice 102(e)(3)(i), with the right to reapply after two years.

The SEC's ongoing litigation against Clark is being handled by Daniel Maher, Olivia Choe, John Lucas, and Sarah Hall, under the supervision of David Gottesman.

Prior Litigation Release No. 24982 / December 11, 2020 -