Jurors in Atlanta federal court returned a verdict finding a securities broker Raymond J. Pirrello, Jr. liable for insider trading in advance of three merger and acquisition transactions.
The SEC’s evidence at trial revealed that Pirrello received highly confidential nonpublic information about the impending acquisitions of Radiant Systems Inc., Midas Incorporated Inc., and BrightPoint Inc. from Thomas W. Avent, Jr., who performed tax work on each transaction as a partner at an international accounting firm. Pirrello, in turn, tipped his former colleague and long-time friend Lawrence J. Penna, Jr., who traded in the securities of each of the three companies. According to evidence presented during the trial, Penna and his family made at least $107,922 in illicit trading profits, and shared at least $21,500 of these profits with Pirrello.
The jury found Pirrello liable on all counts, finding that he violated Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder.
Avent and Penna each previously settled insider trading charges brought against them.
“This case involved a sophisticated scheme by industry professionals to use inside information on multiple occasions to obtain substantial illegal profits.” said Joel R. Levin, Director of the SEC’s Chicago Regional Office. “Insider trading undermines investor confidence in the integrity of the markets and those who engage in it must be held accountable.”
The SEC’s litigation is being conducted by John E. Birkenheier, Robert M. Moye and Ruta G. Dudenas of the Chicago Regional Office, and Pat Huddleston of the Atlanta Regional Office. The investigation that led to the SEC’s action was conducted by Ms. Dudenas, Mr. Moye, Amy S. Cotter, and Rebecca Hollenbeck.