The Securities and Exchange Commission last week filed suit against an Ohio day-trader, accusing him of trading based on information he stole from his brother-in-law, a private equity executive.
According to the complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, Michael Stummer, while visiting his brother-in-law—a principal of private equity firm Caxton-Iseman Capital who is not identified by name in the complaint—in New York, correctly guessed his brother-in-law’s password and gained access to his computer, all while his brother-in-law was away from home. Stummer allegedly used his illicit access to read several e-mails related to a Caxton portfolio company’s acquisition of Ryan’s Restaurant Group.
The SEC says Stummer bought 5,500 Ryan’s shares on July 21, 2006—the same day he accessed the insider information—and July 24. The Ryan’s acquisition was announced by Caxton-Iseman on the following day, July 25, whereupon Stummer sold all of his Ryan’s shares, netting more than $22,000.
The SEC is seeking disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and an equal amount in civil penalties.