back to article Apple's guy in charge of stopping insider trading guilty of … insider trading

One of Apple's most senior legal executives, whom the iGiant trusted to prevent insider trading, has admitted to insider trading. Gene Levoff pleaded guilty to six counts of security fraud stemming from a February 2019 complaint, according to a Thursday announcement from the US Department of Justice on Thursday. Levoff used …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's exactly what you'd expect.

      Tell me more about what you read at alt-left-conspiracy-nutbags.com.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: It's exactly what you'd expect.

        "This post has been deleted by its author"

        awww!

        i wanted to hear alt-left-conspiracy-nutbags rantings !

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's exactly what you'd expect.

          I still don't get how they kept the llama hidden, nor how they managed to do all *that* with a single tin of Alphabetti Spaghetti.

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: It's exactly what you'd expect.

            <Rimmer>

            ALPHABETTI SPAGHETTI?!??

            </Rimmer>

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's exactly what you'd expect.

            Insider trading: it really whips the llama's ass.

      2. Mayday Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: It's exactly what you'd expect.

        So what did they say?

        Looks like I missed out on the fun.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    small payday really

    Less than a million in profits\prevented losses? Or am I missing something? I see the 10mil in sales, but that was money he invested or partially invested and parlayed in to profit?

    Can't... resist... touching... that shiny thing.....

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: small payday really

      He was selling Apple stock he owned, not buying options. It isn't like Apple has ever made an announcement so bad the stock fell by double digits or anything, so insider trading in Apple stock isn't even all that valuable.

      If he held that much stock he was obviously very well compensated. Not only does he lose that high paying job he loses his freedom. All because he was greedy for another half million on top of the millions he already had.

    2. Howard Sway Silver badge

      Re: small payday really

      A small payday in that world, a relative fortune to many other people. What's amazing is that a senior legal executive at such a huge company could ever convince himself that there was nothing wrong in doing this. It's the most basic thing to know about, but having that $10 million in stock evidently blinded him to the fact that the rules applied to him too. And he should also have known that his life would become much more unpleasant as a result of what he did, and that his feeble defence that there was nothing wrong with it would fail.

      The supposedly mould-breaking world of Silicon Valley executives shows itself to be just the same as the old Masters of the Universe of Wall Street, once the sums involved get big enough and the temptation to unfettered greed becomes irresistible to some.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: small payday really

        -> What's amazing is that a senior legal executive at such a huge company could ever convince himself that there was nothing wrong in doing this.

        Maybe he didn't even try to convince himself. Maybe he is just greedy. Full stop.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: small payday really

        What's amazing is that a senior legal executive at such a huge company could ever convince himself that there was nothing wrong in doing this.

        You may consider that amazing. I do not.

        Apple has got itself into its position by astoundingly unethical behaviour. They may have so many lawyers that it was never found to be illegal but it seems to have set a fine example for its staff. He just didn't have enough of a legal time behind him!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: small payday really

          The rules don't apply to senior executives because they never get caught and if they do get caught they don't face any consequences.

          It's why you get more of everything naughty, from sexual abuse to expense fiddling at the top.

          See also prize winning economic studies on bagel honesty boxes

      3. sniperpaddy

        Re: small payday really

        What strikes me is the level of impunity he thought he had. The arrogance of that sense of entitlement is typical of sociopaths.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: small payday really

      Yeah, seemed odd. $10m in shares sold just save $345,000 in losses when he was in the perfect position to know that Apples shares were on an overall upwards trajectory. All he had to do was wait and he'd have recovered the relatively small loss in a relatively short time. After all, this was money locked away, untouchable with no dividends paid out, literally "paper wealth" unless cashed in. Unless he was cashing in smaller amounts for spending money and desperately needed to maintain the "capital" balance, I'll assume he got annual share options as bonuses/pay package or something.

  3. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    However he did try (and fail) to have the case overthrown last year, by arguing there was no specific criminal law barring insider training.

    That's one claim I've not heard before from an inside trader. If he didnt think it was illegal, then what did he think his job was in informing people about not being allowed to trade during blackout periods? PR?

    Careful that he doesnt try and take that claim all the way to the Supreme Court, with the way there ruling right now, they'd probably declare banning Insider Trading was against his freedom of speech or some other such bollocks.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      This Court will tell that because who wrote the Constitution didn't think about insider trading, IT, and Apple, the Federal Government can't rule on that, and every law regarding it should be in the power of local councils, or maybe building managers.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      I was once informed that I was an employee subject to the now superseded Model Code in the uk. https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/7-107-6854?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)

      I was unusual in that I’d bought shares in the company (a plc) and wasn’t an executive. Company top legal exec (lawyer) along with an HR person tell me that I can’t buy more or sell my existing shares at certain points. Hand me a copy of the code and says that if I do I’m insider trading which isn’t a victimless crime. Then the lawyer says that he has to inform me of this because it’s a company rule, despite the fact that he knows I’m highly unlikely to do this.

      My manager who has no idea why I have been called to see the “lawyer” was nervous when I got back. He had been sweating it for the time I was away and almost collapsed when I told him it was nothing to worry about. He was thinking of leaving, was concerned that senior people had found out and thought I was being grilled about this.

      If he was informed by the company that it was a crime then his legal defence will surely be a little shaky. Now what was his job again………?

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        He's a lawyer

        "Now what was his job again………?"

        He probably thought his job was to lie to the employees about what they could or couldn't do.

        1. bofh1961

          Re: He's a lawyer

          Like every other manager anywhere.

        2. sniperpaddy

          Re: He's a lawyer

          Don't do what I do. Do what I say !!

    3. wjake
      FAIL

      Then he is an ignorant lawyer

      Yes there is a law:

      17 CFR § 240.10b5-1 - Trading “on the basis of” material nonpublic information in insider trading cases.

      Affirmed by U.S. v. O’Hagan, 521 U.S. 642 (1997)

      Also an SEC Regulation:

      Rule 10b-5 Prohibition on Insider Trading. SEC Rule 10b-5 prohibits corporate officers and directors or other insider employees from using confidential corporate information to reap a profit (or avoid a loss) by trading in the Company's stock.

      He should have been fired for incompetence.

  4. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

    Who me?

    This article would be appropriate for the 'Who me?' section.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The paradox of greed

    I never ceased to be amazed by these stories about people who already have more than enough money by any normal standards, yet risk it all for a comparatively small amount more.

    It seems that for some people there is no such thing as enough, and they convince themselves that anything is OK to get more.

    Compare also: Martha Stewart.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: The paradox of greed

      A (distant) family member who won't be named, as she was dumping enough stock to ruin a small company... "You don't get rich by being nice or playing by the rules".

      Thank god I'm an ocean away, people like that... will never have enough and will happily destroy anything in order to get more. It's more than simple greed, it's like some sort of psychological problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The paradox of greed

        "You don't get rich by being nice or playing by the rules"

        Not actually true. You may not get to be obscenely, excessively, rich, but you can certainly become comfortably wealthy whilst following the rules.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: The paradox of greed

          Very true. My wife and I are comfortably upper-middle-class, in fact in the top 1% for household income of the states we've lived in (though not near it for the US as a whole) – which means we're quite wealthy indeed by global standards – and we follow the rules.

          I have a good friend who's quite wealthy thanks to a lot of hard work by himself and by his father before him; he's in commercial real estate and he (and his father before him) has a longstanding practice of working with distressed clients to keep them afloat until they can start making rent payments again. It's all worked out quite well.

          Another acquaintance who is bona fide rich (as in "owns several homes, some of which he's only been to once or twice, works by famous artists, etc") has not, to the best of my knowledge, broken any laws or been particularly nasty or underhanded. He just started with some family money, innate intelligence, and an excellent education, and then pursued becoming rich with considerable vigor. Yes, the family money is an important starting point, but it's not necessary to be vile in order to be rich. That's just a rationalization used by people who want an excuse to behave badly.

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: The paradox of greed

      "people who already have more than enough money by any normal standards, yet risk it all for a comparatively small amount more"

      That's most probably how they got 'more than enough' in the first place. A very wise man once said "it's commonly said that power corrupts, but few stop to think that while you're powerless it's hard to show how corrupt you already are". Substitute 'money' for 'power' and much the same applies. Almost no-one ever got seriously rich by being entirely honest.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greed yet again

    Selling ten mil illegally to prevent losing 3%ish of value. So if he had followed the rules he’d have had roughly $9.6mil still … which would be worth a whole heap more today. These tools always seem to make these dodgy moves to save tiny amounts of money. Must be a whole different world they live in to act so stupidly and greedily when jail is a risk.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Greed yet again

      Must be a whole different world they live in to act so stupidly and greedily when jail is a risk

      Obviously he thought as the guy in charge of exposing insider trading within Apple that if he did it there would no one to expose him!

      Apparently there is someone who watches the watchers after all, at least in his case.

      1. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: Greed yet again

        @DS999 "Apparently there is someone who watches the watchers after all, at least in his case."

        But who watches the watcher of the watchers? ;)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Greed yet again

          "But who watches the watcher of the watchers? ;)"

          It's watchers all the way down...until you reach...THE SEC!!!

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Greed yet again

      And this being Apple, the prtice would have rebounded in about 3 months back to previous levels or even higher. It's not like it's a stock at risk of tanking.

      Utter and complete idiot...

  7. jollyboyspecial Bronze badge

    Did he think his job was to prevent insider trading? Or did he believe it was to assure the board that insider trading wasn't happening?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @jollyboyspecial

      I suspect that he was aware his job was to stop the plebs getting above their proper place.

    2. badflorist

      His job was to draw attention to his insider trading so higher-ups can continue doing so.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Rounded corners

    Can he expect a prison cell with rounded corners?

    1. Wyattb

      Re: Rounded corners

      Rounded corners doubtful but grey color most likely.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Rounded corners

        Space Gray™️.

        Fixed that for you.

    2. sniperpaddy

      Re: Rounded corners

      and a bite out of his ass

  9. Helcat

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

    Perhaps Mr Levoff needs to sit down and read the works (specifically those relating to Sam Vimes) of Sir pTerry Pratchett: Then he'd understand the principle of Who watches the Watchmen...

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

      Have an upvote for the Sir pTerry mention.

      A man's not dead while his name is still spoken

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

        I'm pretty sure my grandfather's dead, even if I say his name. The Candyman less so, if teenage girls are right.

  10. bofh1961

    Looking at the more general background

    It's not as if the company he worked for has a great reputation for ethical standards, is it?

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: Looking at the more general background

      Oh, come on! Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Oracle and all other wannabes (Tesla and such) are all shining examples of ethical behaviour. Didn't you read their press releases?

      /sarcasm

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Looking at the more general background

          to most companies, ethics is a county to the northeast of London

  11. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

    Stupid idiot.

    However, there is part of me that thinks about the human condition, that if I had money* it would be really hard to just sit on my hands and wait to lose $250k.

    It would be interesting to know if this person was a named employee within the insider trading scheme. Directors, accountants and Chief Legal officers would typically be registered and monitored for such things, particularly during a blackout trading window. Presumably he thought he could get away with it because he wasn't named or being actively monitored.

    It's more common than we like to think. Hell, after the whole debacle of Nancy Pelosi's hedge fund husband trading on her apparent knowledge, even the politicians seem to do it.

    *I do not have the money.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Presumably he thought he could get away with it because he wasn't named or being actively monitored."

      On the other hand, I'd not be surprised to learn that ANY large transaction during a "blackout period" is looked at more closely than usual. After all, look how many insider traders have been caught getting others to do the trades for them, eg friends and/or family. I'd imagine even with a company the size and value of Apple, $10m trades don't happen all that frequently, especially close to an earnings/performance announcement.

  12. BlokeInTejas

    Ain't no cure for Stupidity

    The simplest analysis is not that he's a vile opportunist, grabber of money while trampling the poor underfoot, nor any of that...

    It's simply that he's an incompetent idiot.

    Or that he had a giant payment to be made to someone with a trusty squad of knee-breakers to hand.

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