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SEC accuses Wells Fargo banker, 9 others of insider trading

Civil suit says the group made more than $11 million by trading on non-public information.

December 05, 2012|By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
  • The SEC has accused a Wells Fargo investment banker of passing tips to an insider-trading ring.
The SEC has accused a Wells Fargo investment banker of passing tips to an… (Peter Foley, Bloomberg )

Federal regulators have accused a Wells Fargo investment banker of passing tips about pending mergers to nine others in an insider-trading ring.

A federal civil lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission said John Femenia and his nine associates, also named as defendants, made more than $11 million by trading on the non-public information.

The SEC obtained a court order freezing the assets of the defendants and two companies associated with them, according to William P. Hicks, the associate director for enforcement at the SEC in Atlanta.

Femenia, 30, and his friend Shawn Hegedus, a stockbroker, allegedly tipped off the others over a two-year period ending in July, according to the SEC suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C. The lawsuit seeks to recover the alleged illicit profits and have a judge impose civil fines.

Femenia, who had been based mainly in Charlotte when the alleged events occurred, now lives in New York, the SEC said. Calls to phone numbers in his name went unanswered. Hicks said Femenia and the other defendants are not yet represented by attorneys.

Hegedus, 31, also could not be reached for comment. He has not been registered as an investment broker since April. He previously worked at J.P. Turner & Co., John Thomas Financial and most recently Gradient Securities, regulatory records show.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said Femenia was placed on leave.

scott.reckard@latimes.com

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