What Not To Do When Your Girlfriend Scores A Disney Internship: Insider Trade
Not all that glitters is gold
I bet you didn’t think you would encounter a news story today about Marvel Comics, Disney, and fraud, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got just the right title image. Here’s the deal:
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating one California native who they accuse of using knowledge gained from his Disney-intern-girlfriend’s Blackberry to predict the merger of Disney and Marvel Comics and make a 3,000% profit on his investment, almost $200k.
And, according to Deadline, it looks like they’ve got a pretty good case to prove that this guy was operating on specific non-public information. And yes, in the US insider trading applies to him even if he’s not working for Disney or Marvel:
In the United States and many other jurisdictions, however, “insiders”… can include any individual who trades shares based on material non-public information in violation of some duty of trust. This duty may be imputed; for example, in many jurisdictions, in cases of where a corporate insider “tips” a friend about non-public information likely to have an effect on the company’s share price, the duty the corporate insider owes the company is now imputed to the friend and the friend violates a duty to the company if he or she trades on the basis of this information. (Wikipedia)
Anyway, here’s how the SEC noticed something weird was going on:
The complaint said that Toby G. Scammell got the insider information from his girlfriend’s BlackBerry and used some cash for his purchase from the account of his older brother, who was in the Army and deployed to Iraq at the time. The options raised a red flag at the SEC as Scammell, then 24, had never traded Marvel securities before buying the $5,400 in options.
So, grabbing money that you don’t have from the closest relative who won’t be using it immediately to invest a chunk of cash larger than what most people are allowed to contribute to their IRAs yearly in a company you’ve never invested in before. No Tony Stark you are.