On Thursday, September 7, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had charged two men with insider trading. One man is a former Amazon financial analyst and the other is the man’s former fraternity brother. It is alleged that the former Amazon financial analyst leaked confidential information to his friend ahead of a company’s earnings announcement, so they could make an illegal profit.
The SEC has accused Brett Kennedy of accessing nonpublic 2015 first quarter earnings information without authorization while working with Amazon. The SEC alleges that Kennedy then shared the information with Maziar Rezakhani, who made illegal trades based on the information. In total, Rezakhani managed to generate $116,000 in illicit profits for his actions.
The SEC’s complaint suggests that Rezakhani paid Kennedy $10,000 in cash for the insider information. It is also believed that Rezakhani shared his profits with Sam Sadeghi, who was advising him on trades. The couple also met with Kennedy to discuss the nonpublic information, according to the indictment. It is alleged that the couple intended to establish a successful trade record with the intention of opening a hedge fund together in New York in the future.
During the days leading up to Amazon’s earnings announcement, it is alleged that Rezakhani boasted and predicted that the company would report a revenue of $22.7 billion and earnings per share of -$0.12. He even boasted that the “numbers are so obvious” a “5 year old can guess what they will do.”
Kennedy and Sadeghi have agreed to settlements, which are subject to court approval. Sadeghi has agreed to pay disgorgement of $11,599.74, as well as $1,035.39 in interest and a $11,599.74 penalty. Kennedy has agreed to pay $10,000 in disgorgement and $875.36 in interest. Both defendants have agreed to be enjoined from further securities law violations.
The men settled the allegations without admitting or denying their guilt. Also, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington announced criminal charges against Kennedy on September 7.