A former congressman, who represented Indiana for two decades, was convicted Friday of insider trading by a New York federal court. It might be said that he had “Buyer’s remorse” when jurors returned their verdict.
Jurors found Stephen Buyer guilty of four counts of profiting from insider trading, according to a Journal & Courier report. Two charges resulted from profits made from trading Navigant stock and two were from trading stock in the mobile carrier Sprint.
Securities and Exchange Commission officials filed charges against Buyer July 25, 2022.
The regulatory agency claimed in its complaint that after Buyer left Congress in 2011 he formed the Steve Buyer Group. T-Mobile became a client of the consulting firm, according to an SEC press release.
Buyer played golf in March 2018 with a T-Mobile executive who allegedly informed the former congressman about his company’s plan to buy Sprint. News of the pending acquisition was not publicly known at the time, according to the SEC.
Based on the insider information gleaned from his golf outing, Buyer began buying Sprint stock the next day. Before the T-Mobile-Sprint merger was announced, he had bought $568,000 of Sprint common stock. He spread the stake across his personal accounts, a joint account with a cousin and an account belonging to an acquaintance, SEC officials charged.
When news of the merger leaked in April 2018, Buyer made an immediate profit of more than $107,000, according to the SEC.
The following year, the ex-congressman bought stock in Navigant Consulting Inc. valued at more than $1 million, the SEC said in its complaint. His purchases were made before the company publicly announced it would be bought by Guidehouse, another client of Buyer’s consulting group.
Buyer allegedly spread his purchases across a number of accounts again until news of Navigant’s acquisition was made public. The day in August 2019 that news of the company’s sale was made public, Buyer sold off almost all the shares he controlled for a profit greater than $227,000, the SEC complaint alleged.
“When insiders like Buyer – an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a retired Congressman – monetize their access to material, nonpublic information, as alleged in this case, they not only violate the federal securities laws, but also undermine public trust and confidence in the fairness of our markets,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division. “We are committed to doing all we can to maintain and enhance public trust by leveling the playing field and holding Buyer accountable for illegally profiting from his access.”
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