Thursday, May 26, 2011

SEC charges Ashburn resident with insider trading

Washington, D.C., May 26, 2011 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Donald L. Johnson, 56 of Ashburn, Va. with insider trading on confidential information that he stole while working in a market intelligence unit that communicates with companies in advance of market-moving public announcements. Johnson was former managing director of The NASDAQ Stock Market

Johnson traded in advance of such public announcements as corporate leadership changes, earnings reports and forecasts, and regulatory approvals of new pharmaceutical products. He often placed the illegal trades directly from his work computer through an online brokerage account in his wife’s name. Johnson obtained illicit trading profits of more than $755,000 during a three-year period.

Johnson also has been charged in a parallel criminal action announced by the U.S. Department of Justice today. “This case is the insider trading version of the fox guarding the henhouse,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Instead of protecting NASDAQ client confidences, Johnson secretly traded on client information for personal gain, even using his NASDAQ office computer to make the trades.”

Antonia Chion, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, added, “Johnson brazenly stole nonpublic information from NASDAQ and its listed companies in breach of his duties of confidentiality to his employer and clients. Johnson assured at least one corporate official that she could share material nonpublic information with him because he was obligated as a NASDAQ employee to hold such information in confidence, and then he illegally traded on it.”

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Johnson illegally traded in advance of nine announcements involving NASDAQ-listed companies from August 2006 to July 2009. Johnson took advantage of both favorable and unfavorable information that was entrusted to him in confidence by NASDAQ and its listed company clients, shorting stocks on several occasions and establishing long positions in other instances. Johnson worked in various positions for the NASD and NASDAQ for 20 years until his retirement from NASDAQ in September 2009.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, Crime, Finance

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