Gene Levoff, a former Vice President of Corporate Law at Apple, was charged with insider trading on Wednesday by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Levoff, who was until last year responsible for Apple’s compliance with the SEC, was fired in September 2018. He is accused of trading on insider information for eight years to the profit of nearly $400,000 (£312,518).
The SEC complaint, asserts that Levoff’s early access to private earnings results and information like iPhone sales was abused.
“For example, in July 2015 Levoff received material nonpublic financial data that showed Apple would miss analysts’ third quarter estimates for iPhone unit sales,” the complaint reads. “Between July 17 and the public release of Apple’s quarterly earnings information on July 21, Levoff sold approximately $10 million dollars of Apple stock – virtually all of his Apple holdings – from his personal brokerage accounts.”
Levoff was a ten-year veteran at Apple. When he was fired, the 44-year-old had been serving as the Senior Director of Corporate Law at Apple.
Levoff not only disobeyed Apple’s “blackout” period for stock transactions, he was in charge of alerting employees to the specifics of the blackout periods that he then proceeded to break. Apple’s own insider trading policy, which Levoff helped write, warned of possible civil and criminal penalties.
“In fact, Levoff shared responsibility for ensuring that employees complied with Apple’s insider trading policies,” the SEC charges. “On at least three occasions in 2010 and 2011, Levoff sent emails to company employees notifying them that a blackout period was about to commence and that they were prohibited from trading Apple securities for the duration of the period. In fact, Levoff sent two such emails immediately prior to his insider trading in 2011.”
The SEC even included the text of the email Levoff sent out. Here’s the first sentence, all in caps just as Levoff sent it: “REMEMBER, TRADING IS NOT PERMITTED, WHETHER OR NOT IN AN OPEN TRADING WINDOW, IF YOU POSSESS OR HAVE ACCESS TO MATERIAL INFORMATION THAT HAS NOT BEEN DISCLOSED PUBLICLY.”
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Featured image: Drew Angerer (Getty)