A senior portfolio manager at Microsoft has been charged, along with a business partner, with insider trading. Brian Jorgenson is accused of abusing his position in the company's corporate finance and investments division to obtain confidential information which he then passed onto his friend Sean Stokke.
Stoke was then able to use the information to trade ahead of announcements from Microsoft and the profits that the scheme generated were then shared equally between the two men. The plan was to start a hedge fund once sufficient money had been generated.
The pair were active between April 2012 and October 2013, managing to amass nearly $400,000 in profit. Daniel M. Hawke, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit and director of the SEC’s Philadelphia Regional Office said:
"Abusing access to Microsoft’s confidential information and generating unlawful trading profits is not a wise or legal business model for starting a hedge fund. We thwarted the misguided plans of Jorgenson and Stokke as they sought to illegally profit at others' expense."
The two men used information about Microsoft earning ahead of public announcements to help them to make prudent investments and trades in the stock of Microsoft and the company's partners.
The SEC is looking to recoup the money made by the pair as well as imposing a fine, applying an officer-and-director bar against Jorgenson.