SEC charges software engineers with insider trading

Source: SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced insider trading charges against two Canadian software engineers who made $1.6 million by trading ahead of non-public, market-moving financial information.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least May 2018 to July 2021, Harpreet Saini and John Lester Mandac Natividad, both of Ontario, were employed by a newswire distribution company specializing in corporate press releases, and had access to its internal press release distribution system that allowed them to preview headlines, times, and publication dates of forthcoming announcements. As alleged, Saini and Natividad collectively traded in advance of more than 1,600 announcements distributed by their employer and would routinely exit their positions after the market reacted to the news in the press releases.

"Insider trading erodes public trust in the financial markets and gives an unfair advantage to those who trade using non-public information," said Michele Wein Layne, Regional Director of the Los Angeles Regional Office. "As alleged in our complaint, Saini and Natividad engaged in an insider trading scheme, which spanned several years, to enrich themselves at the expense of others, and brazenly bragged about it via text message with each another."

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the District of New Jersey, charges Saini and Natividad with violating the antifraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) today announced that Saini and Natividad have been charged with fraud and insider trading offenses under the Ontario Securities Act.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by David S. Brown with assistance from Darren Boerner and John S. Rymas of the Market Abuse Unit’s Analysis and Detection Center. It was supervised by Marc J. Blau of the Los Angeles Regional Office. The litigation will be led by Stephen Kam and Gary Leung. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the OSC. 

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