The Securities Exchange Commission announced this morning that Swiss trader, Helmut Anscheringer, agreed to settle the illegal trading charges for more than $2.8 million.
The SEC investigation revealed that Mr. Anscheringer profited over $1.8 million from insider information regarding the Florida-based fingerprint sensor technology company, AuthenTec. In 2012, Mr. Anscheringer learned from a longtime friend related to an executive at AuthenTec that Apple, Inc. was looking to acquire the company. This news came as a shock and was significant because Apple, Inc. rarely participates in acquisitions and tends to buy mostly startups when looking for cutting-edge technology. In response to this information, Mr. Anscheringer loaded up on AuthenTec stock and call options. Days later, AuthenTec publicly announced the acquisition. Apple, Inc. had agreed to pay $355 million in cash for the company (a 58% premium), making it one of the Apple’s biggest mergers in its 36 year history. That day, AuthenTec’s stock prices jumped up by 60% compared to the day before.
Anscheringer was found in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 during a SEC administrative proceeding. Without admitting or denying the findings, Anscheringer agreed to pay disgorgement of $1,820,024, prejudgment interest of $121,732, and a penalty of $910,012 for a total of $2,851,768. He must cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
“Foreign traders in U.S. stocks are not exempt from SEC scrutiny,” said Glenn Gordon, Associate Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. The SEC first took notice of Mr. Anscheringer, who lives in Basel, Switzerland, while investigating a trading account registered to a British Virgin Islands entity for which Anscheringer is listed as the beneficiary.
While illegal insider trading is typically associated with corporate officers (e.g. directors, CEOs, etc.), friends and family of officers, directors and employees can also be charged with illegal insider trading if they act on the insider information, like Mr. Anscheringer did in this case. Other categories of illegal insider trading include employees of law, banking, brokerage and printing firms who were given such information to provide services to the corporation whose securities they traded and government employees who learned of such information because of their employment by the government.
If you have information regarding illegal insider trading or other securities law violations and are considering making a claim, we encourage you to learn more about our SEC & Financial Fraud practice. The attorneys at Loevy & Loevy have extensive experience with whistleblower claims.It is important to involve an attorney early in the process to achieve the highest level of protection and success.