Do As I Say, Not As I Do

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Emailed on February 15, 2019 in The Friday Forward

The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought suit against Gene Daniel Levoff, who was Apple's senior director of corporate law until September 2018. Levoff is accused of using his position to make illegal trades of Apple shares.

Yes, you read that right. In a turn of events that could have been scripted by The Onion, the man in charge of enforcing insider trading policies at Apple is sued for insider trading. 

For example, in July 2015 he learned that Apple was going to miss analyst estimates for iPhone unit sales. Between July 17 and July 21, when Apple published its quarterly earnings report, he sold nearly his entire holding of Apple stock, totaling nearly $10 million. When the news became public, Apple's share price dropped by more than 4 percent—selling early avoided losses of approximately $345,000.

Just another day at the office: The SEC's filing says that, on three occasions in 2010 and 2011, Levoff emailed employees to warn them that the company was entering a blackout period and that they were prohibited from trading Apple shares. Two of these emails were "immediately prior" to his 2011 insider trading.

One of those emails included the following all-caps reminder:

REMEMBER, IS NOT PERMITTED, WHETHER OR NOT IN AN OPEN TRADING WINDOW, IF YOU POSSESS OR HAVE ACCESS TO MATERIAL INFORMATION THAT HAS NOT BEEN DISCLOSED PUBLICLY

Sean SteigerwaldComment