back to article Head of Apple's insider trading program charged with… you guessed it... insider trading

The top boss of Apple's insider trading compliance program has been accused of insider trading by the feds. America's financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission, today filed [PDF] the irony-rich allegations against 44-year-old Gene Daniel Levoff, Apple's now-former global head of corporate law. The regulator …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    Why would you do this?

    The guy had $10 million in stock to sell, and he sold it to avoid a paltry 3.5% loss? Given a choice between being very rich, and risking spending time in jail to be ever so slightly more rich, I would prefer the former!

    Nevermind that if he'd held onto that $10 million in stock it would be worth more today even after Apple's recent drop.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Why would you do this?

      Yes, but what is cost when measured against user experience?

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Why would you do this?

      He was holding it wrong.

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Why would you do this?

      You couldn't make this up. The bloke sounds like some of the corpoate bods I've met. Except they were only stupid not allegedly engaged in criminal behavior.

    4. walatam

      Re: Why would you do this?

      Just because he is wealthy, doesn't mean he isn't stupid (or greedy). More seriously, I could try to make a point about the rich feeling that the rules simply don't always apply ...

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Why would you do this?

      Given a choice between being very rich, and risking spending time in jail to be ever so slightly more rich

      I suspect his wisdom score probably wouldn't enable him to even cast 1st level cleric spells..

      (Longwinded way of saying that a lot of criminals think they they are too smart to be caught. Some of them probably are (having not been caught yet) but he clearly wasn't)

  2. SirWired 1

    WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

    Fortuitous large trades in your own employer's stock will get your broker's compliance department to send your account info to the SEC without even pausing for breath. You'd think the head of their Insider Trading program would *know*, with absolute certainty, how easy this is for them to find and prosecute.

    Could have been worse, I suppose; he could have decided to pick up options trading.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

      At least the smart people partner with friends who work elsewhere so you tell your friend when to buy or sell Apple and he tells you when to buy or sell Google. That's a lot harder for the SEC to catch. What this guy did is like drunkenly driving your car down the street with a breathalyzer reading of .15 proudly displayed in your back window!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

      He knows that, unless he was stupid enough to email himself something like "Ha ha ha my scheme to commit insider trading worked!" he knows it's almost impossible for the SEC to prove mens rea, and he'll probably get away with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

        That's right. They allege he made verboten trades in his own company stock via insider knowledge. The make this claim because his trades did seem to make some money, but legit trades would appear similar. Only the presence of absence of the insider knowledge defines the crime, and they really can't prove what was or wasn't in his head when he made those trades. They need hard evidence to convict, and this guy should know exactly what to have avoided doing, so as to ensure deniability later.

        Heck, that's his job!

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

          If he's classified as an 'insider' by the SEC, he has to execute pre-planned trades during specific periods. If you are so classified, you can't just decide one day to sell all your shares. Even if you had material information that they would beat estimates and the stock would soar and you lost money doing so, it would still be illegal.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

            If that's so, then how did he think he could get away with dumping all his $10M worth of Apple stock in one day? Would he not know this would draw instant attention from the SEC? The only way this makes sens is if he thought someone at the SEC would cover for him.

            Or, he could be really, REALLY, stupid. But then, how did he get a job at Apple...?

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

              Stupid and so egotistical that one believes they will be able to talk their way out of it if caught are often very similar. We've seen a lot of that among all the people caught up in the Mueller probe, who thought they could claim they had no contact with Russians, then when that failed make up flimsy excuses etc.

              Maybe this guy figured since he was in charge of enforcing insider trading restrictions at Apple that he knew the law so well that he could find a way to claim he's innocent. Who knows, I suppose there's a chance he still will - so far he's only accused. But selling all your stock right before an earnings disappointment is announced looks really bad, he better have one hell of a lie!

      2. Dal90

        Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

        SEC doesn't care about mens rea.

        Literally. By law.

        If the PDF attached to the article started with "United States Attorney for..." and had a criminal case # at the top...mens rea comes into play.

        This isn't a criminal case.

        It is civil and SEC doesn't have to prove state of mind, just that he was stupid enough to do it.

        1. CraPo

          Re: WTF? He should *know* this is like shooting fish in a barrell for the SEC

          Did you read right to the end?

          "At the same time, the US Attorney for New Jersey today filed a criminal charge against Levoff, accusing him of securities fraud."

  3. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Trollface

    Perhaps he thought ...

    ... that his duties only include enforcing the rules, not following them. After all, he was in management.

  4. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    the SEC wants all the money [...] returned

    To whom?

    To the people who bought the shares , and probably are not too displeased of holding APPL stock?

    To Apple, for whom 10M would amount to a piss in the ocean of their cash?

    Or to the SEC (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: the SEC wants all the money [...] returned

      Give him an exploding cigar and call him Curly, he's just a victim of circumstance... nyuk nyuk

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Churn and Burn

    Aside from any question of guilt, I was curious about what happened to the Apple stock price in 2015 till now, and I found this handy graph.

    Looks like there was a general downturn for Apple late in 2015, sure enough. And the idea this guy panicked and dumped all his stock hangs together plausibly.

    But less than two years later the stock was back up to its value when he sold out and thereafter climbed significantly, before dropping back to the sale value again. If he'd kept the stock it would be worth roughly the same as when he sold it, after large positive and negative swings, and the earnings toward the end would have been significant too.

    If he did do this deed, he's stupid. The fact that his job is to prevent people from engaging in insider trading from within Apple, just makes it that much more stupifying.

    https://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/aapl/stock-chart?intraday=off&timeframe=5y&splits=off&earnings=off&movingaverage=None&lowerstudy=volume&comparison=off&index=&drilldown=off

    1. Robert Moore
      Pint

      Re: Churn and Burn

      Who's to say he didn't buy more stock after the dip. Doing that a few times could be quite profitable.

  6. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Boffin

    Meh.

    He's stupid.

    He could have taken a hedge and made money that way without triggering any alarm bells.

  7. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

    Well I must admit, insider trading isn't my bag, baby

    How that trade might have gone down:

    Broker: But you're Apple's Head of Corporate Law! Might you reconsider?

    Levoff: Trade it, trade it all... I like to live dangerously.

  8. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Is there somethin "off"?

    What is it with people whose names end in "off?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is there somethin "off"?

      Perhaps they're less off and moron.

      1. B*stardTintedGlasses

        Re: Is there somethin "off"?

        Keyboard sprayed. Coffee everywhere.

        Well played.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Is there somethin "off"?

        Nice one!

  9. devTrail

    His profile

    When I read that he was the head of the legal department I thought that he might be the one who oversaw all the legal actions against Samsung and the others, so he was a high profile executive. I tried to search his curriculum online, but there's no trace. Searches on google and qwant return mostly recent articles about this story, with a further search on Qwant I found out that he was the director of a lot of foreign subsidiaries and that he was one of those responsible for the fund that manages the 100 billion plus earnings stashed to avoid taxes. But apart from that it seem that sometimes corporate managers lives are a little bit more private than the lives of their customers.

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: His profile

      he was the director of a lot of foreign subsidiaries and that he was one of those responsible for the fund that manages the 100 billion plus earnings stashed to avoid taxes

      Sounds like he could be one of the stoogies names on the books to hide the really guilty people.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greed

    Greed short circuit the brain. To some people there is never enough. They feel they are in the desert dying of thirst even when they have gallons of water tucked away in their basement. I wonder if he thinks it was worth it. I feel tons of people try to pull this one and never get caught. Maybe he was too greedy?

    I wish him well...it most be hell being like that. Having so much but still feeling like not having enough.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    But who will guard the guards ?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      I dont know... coastguard?

  12. Gnoitall

    Awkward Conversation

    "My job is to make sure no one else does any insider trading."

    "Wait, what? Your job is to make sure no one at all does any insider trading, including you."

    " wat... ಠ_ಠ "

  13. AbeSapian

    Irony?

    I would say this is dripping with irony were it not for the fact that this is just another day in the life.

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