Articles Tagged with SEC Enforcement Action Defense Lawyer

Paul T. Rampoldi and William S. Blythe III, were named Respondents in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaint that alleges the two participated in an insider trading scheme to profit in advance of two major pharmaceutical company announcements. The insider trading case involved the securities Ardea Biosciences, Inc. (Ardea), a California-based biotechnology company.

The SEC alleged, in advance of several announcements between April 2009 and April 2012, Michael J. Fefferman, who was Ardea’s Senior Director of Information Technology, tipped his brother-in-law nonpublic information concerning an agreement between Ardea and another company to license a cancer drug and an acquisition of Ardea by AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca). This information eventually came to Mr. Rampoldi, for which the SEC alleges, he used along with his friend Mr. Blythe to illicit profits by trading ahead of the pharmaceutical announcements. Hopefully, Mr. Rampoldi and Mr. Blythe have obtained skilled representation because they have a battle on their hands.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought charges against two former Wells Fargo employees, Gregory T. Bolan Jr. (Bolan) of Nashville, Tennessee and Joseph C. Ruggieri (Ruggieri) of Raleigh, North Carolina, for an alleged insider trading scheme involving buying or short selling stocks ahead of research analyst reports which contained ratings changes.

According to the SEC order, Bolan was a research analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (Wells Fargo) and provided Ruggieri, a former trader at Wells Fargo, with advance notice of forthcoming rating changes. This advanced information allegedly led to Ruggieri trading ahead of the ratings changes; short selling stock ahead of a downgrade and buying stock ahead of upgrades. Ruggieri allegedly generated over $117,000 in gross profits for Wells Fargo and was terminated from Wells Fargo after compliance questioned him about communications involving Bolan. Bolan resigned from Wells Fargo after being questioned by compliance personnel. The SEC’s order, instituting a litigation proceeding, charged Bolan and Ruggieri with violating Sections 17(a) and 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5. The administrative proceeding will determine what, if any, relief is in the public interest, including disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, prejudgment interest, monetary penalties and other remedial measures.

Illegal insider trading is the act of buying or selling a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about a company. Insider trading violations may also include “tipping” such information; trading by the person tipped – the “tippee,” and trading by those who misappropriate such information. Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 makes it unlawful for any person to “use or employ, in connection with the purchase or sale of any security registered on a national securities exchange or any security not so registered, any manipulative or deceptive device or contrivance in contravention of such rules and regulations as the [SEC] may prescribe.” To implement Section 10(b), the SEC adopted Rule 10b-5, which makes it unlawful to engage in fraud or misrepresentation in connection with the purchase or sale of a security.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded over $30 million to a whistleblower, the largest ever award for a whistleblower’s information which led to a successful SEC enforcement action. The SEC program, in place since 2011, is meant to motivate tipsters from all over the world to come forward with credible information about violations of U.S. securities laws.

The whistleblower in this case, from a foreign country, brought forward information about an ongoing fraud. According to the SEC, the award of over $30 million could have been even larger had the tipster come forward sooner. The award was reduced due to the whistleblower’s delay in reporting the misconduct. This award is more than double the previous high for an SEC award of $14 million, which was awarded to a whistleblower in October 2013.

Under the SEC’s whistleblower program, tipsters are encouraged to come forward with credible, quality, original information about violations of U.S. securities laws that lead to a successful enforcement action of more than $1 million. The whistleblower awards can range from 10-30% of the money collected in a case. Most importantly, the whistleblower’s identity and confidentiality are strictly protected, so that tipsters can safely come forward.

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