Seattle man gets 1-1/2 years for Microsoft insider trades




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BY BILL RIGBY

SEATTLE – An online stock trader who profited from inside passed him by a Microsoft Corp finance employee sentenced 1-1/2 years Seattle on Friday.

Sean Stokke had pleaded guilty charges of insider trading, which federal prosecutors said netted more than $400,000 illicit profits over an 18-month period for him and his Microsoft accomplice, Brian Jorgenson.

Prosecutors had asked for a 1-1/2 year sentence for Stokke, 29, far short of the maximum sentence of 20 years for the charges of criminal insider trading, given his cooperation with investigators. Stokke’s attorney had asked for greater leniency.

In handing down the sentence during a hearing in Seattle, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said a term vital “send a message” employees at local who might be tempted by insider trading.

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Jorgenson, 32, who fired by Microsoft after the scheme came to light, is to be sentenced in the next few weeks.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission jointly charged the in December with a sophisticated insider trading scheme. Stokke struck a plea deal with prosecutors in April, providing details of the scheme.

According to charging documents, the pair’s cooperation began in April 2012 when Jorgenson found out through his job in Microsoft’s treasury department the software was a multi-million-dollar investment in the digital of bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc.

He passed to Stokke, who bought options betting Barnes & Noble’s stock would rise. The stock jumped about 50 percent when the investment was announced in late April 2012, reaping Stokke a profit of more than $184,000, prosecutors said.

Stokke, who had previously worked with Jorgenson at an asset management , shared the profits with his via envelopes stuffed with $10,000 in cash, according to the charges, which resulted from probes by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the SEC.

The pair repeated a similar process twice more in the following 18 months, prosecutors said, buying options on Microsoft stock or an exchange-traded prior to the release of earnings Jorgenson knew would surprise Wall Street and cause sharp moves in the stock.

The took in a total profit of $414,000 from the combined trades and planned to start their own hedge , according to prosecutors. (Reuters)

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