Wyoming Fires CIO After Insider-Trading Plea

Apr 4 2013 | 12:40am ET

The Wyoming Retirement System has fired its chief investment officer, after he pleaded guilty to participating in a hedge fund insider-trading scheme.

John Johnson admitted to trading on a tip he received from Artis Capital Management analyst Matthew Teeple on March 18. He also faces a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Teeple allegedly learned of Foundry Networks' impending acquisition by Brocade Communications Systems in 2008 and passed the tip on to Johnson, a former money manager who was unemployed at the time, and to Karl Motey, an expert-networker who became a key cooperating witness for the government in the recent insider-trading crackdown.

Johnson made $136,000 trading on the tip.

The Arvada, Colo., man began working at the Wyoming pension in 2010. The system took pains to note that no state funds were involved in Johnson's trades, coming as they did years before his hiring. It added that it was unaware of the investigation into Johnson at the time it brought him on.

WRS Executive Director Thomas Williams said the $6 billion system would move quickly to hire a successor to the disgraced Johnson.

"Clearly, it's an important position, and we will be moving judiciously to identify a proper replacement for Mr. Johnson," he said.

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