The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged three former Qualcomm sales managers with insider trading.
According to an SEC press release announcing the charges, Derek Cohen, Robert Herman, and Michael Fleischli allegedly bought shares of Atheros Communications after learning that Qualcomm was planning to acquire it. They communicated with one another about their plans to purchase stock in a series of “suspiciously-timed phone calls,” the SEC said.
Atheros’ stock price jumped 20 percent after the acquisition was made public, and the three executives quickly sold the shares, the SEC said. According to the SEC complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Cohen made $200,000; Fleischli made $3,000; and Herman made $30,000.
“As alleged in our complaint, Qualcomm placed trust in these sales managers who proceeded to exploit the confidential information shared with them and conduct insider trading for their personal gain,” Michele Wein Layne, director of SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office, said in the SEC release.
The SEC complaint specifically accuses Cohen, Herman, and Fleischli of violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The complaint seeks disgorgement of the trio’s ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, financial penalties, and permanent injunctions.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California announced criminal charges against Cohen and Herman on Monday.
According to a Reuters story published Tuesday that cited government prosecutors as its source Cohen was arrested on Saturday and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles. Herman remains at large, Reuters reported.
Cohen’s lawyer was not available for comment and Herman’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, Reuters noted.