Chris Choi, a former Nvidia Corp. account manager recently settled with the SEC on insider trading charges. According to the SEC complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, Mr. Choi tipped a friend with nonpublic information before the technology company’s 2009 and 2010 quarterly earning announcements. Mr. Choi provided his friend with information relating to the company’s revenue, profit margins, and other highly confidential information – obtained through his employment. Mr. Choi’s confidential tips started a domino effect among portfolio managers and analysts in the industry, and eventually permitted various hedge funds to gain about $1.6 million in illegal profits. Mr. Choi, charged with violating various securities laws, will pay a $30,000 civil penalty and will be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years.
This is another chapter in the ongoing efforts by both the SEC and the Department of Justice as they investigate insider trading. In a now common pattern, the efforts are often initially concentrated on lower level individuals and then branches out to higher levels of corporate officers and financial services employees.