Litigation Release No. 23593 / July 8, 2016

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Thomas W. Avent, Jr., Raymond J. Pirrello, Jr., and Lawrence J. Penna, Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-02459-SCJ (N.D. Ga. filed July 7, 2016)

SEC Sues Accounting Firm Partner, Stock Broker and Securities Law Recidivist in Insider Trading Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on July 7 it charged Thomas W. Avent, Jr., an Atlanta mergers and acquisition attorney and certified public accountant, and two individuals with connections to the securities industry, Raymond J. Pirrello, Jr. and Lawrence J. Penna with insider trading in the securities of Radiant Systems, Inc., Midas Incorporated, Inc., and Brightpoint, Inc.

The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Atlanta, alleges that between 2011 and 2012:

  • While working at an international accounting firm, Avent obtained highly confidential nonpublic information about the impending acquisitions of Radiant, Midas and Brightpoint in advance of each acquisition. The Radiant and Midas acquisitions involved tender offers.
  • Avent illegally tipped his stock broker Pirrello about the impending acquisitions, who used the nonpublic information to tip a former colleague and long-time friend Penna, who traded in the securities of each of the three companies.
  • Avent and Pirrello's illegal tips resulted in Penna and his family realizing at least $111,000 in illicit trading profits.
  • Penna made payments to Pirrello, and Pirrello provided cash and other financial benefits to Avent.

The SEC's complaint charges Avent and Pirrello with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Avent, Pirrello and Penna with violating Section 14(e) of the Exchange Act and Rule 14e-3 thereunder.

The SEC's investigation has been conducted by Ruta G. Dudenas and Rebecca Bernard, and has been supervised by Amy Stahl Cotter, all of the Chicago Regional Office. The SEC's litigation will be led by John E. Birkenheier, Robert Moye and Pat Huddleston. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

SEC Complaint