SEC Charges Montana-Based Paralegal and Her Father in Insider Trading Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former paralegal at a Kalispell, Mont.-based semiconductor company and her father with insider trading on confidential information about the 2009 acquisition of the company.
The SEC alleges that Angela Milliard wired money to her boyfriend’s brokerage account so she could illegally trade on nonpublic details she learned while working as a legal assistant on Semitool Inc.’s then-secret deal with a Silicon Valley company. She also tipped her father Kenneth Milliard with the confidential information. He then traded on the nonpublic information and tipped his sons, who also made trades. The morning the acquisition was announced, the Milliards sold their shares for illicit profits of more than $67,000.
Angela and Kenneth Milliard have agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying more than $175,000.
“Angela Milliard exploited her access to confidential merger and acquisition information to illicitly enrich herself and her family,” said Marc Fagel, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office. “As a member of a legal department entrusted with sensitive deal documents, she had a duty to safeguard that information, not trade on it.”
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Montana, Angela Milliard first gained access to confidential deal information in October 2009, when she learned that Semitool and the acquiring company – Applied Materials Inc. – had entered into advanced merger negotiations. After learning that the tender offer was to happen in mid-November at a nearly 30 percent premium over Semitool’s then-trading price, she wired money to her boyfriend’s brokerage account and used it to surreptitiously buy shares of Semitool.
The SEC alleges that Angela Milliard tipped her father, who also purchased Semitool shares and encouraged his sons to do the same, which they did. They reaped their illegal insider trading profits following the public announcement of the merger on Nov. 17, 2009.
The Milliards settled the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the allegations. Angela Milliard agreed to pay full disgorgement of her trading profits totaling $20,355 plus prejudgment interest of $1,614.60 and a penalty of $54,022.11. Kenneth Milliard agreed to pay full disgorgement of his and his sons’ trading profits totaling $47,805 plus prejudgment interest of $3,765.19 and a penalty of $47,805.11.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Jennifer J. Lee and Jina L. Choi of the San Francisco Regional Office.