Ex-Indiana Congressman charged with insider trading

Rick Steves

“We are committed to doing all we can to maintain and enhance public trust by leveling the playing field and holding Buyer accountable for illegally profiting from his access.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Stephen Buyer, a former U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 4th Congressional District, with insider trading.

After leaving Congress in 2011, the defendant founded a consulting firm which provided services to T-Mobile, among others.

According to the SEC, he attended a golf outing in March 2018 with a T-Mobile executive, from whom he learned about the company’s then nonpublic plan to acquire Sprint.

Two insider trades profited $107,000 and $227,000

The next day, he began purchasing Sprint securities ahead of the merger announcement, ultimately acquiring a total of $568,000 of Sprint common stock in his own personal accounts, a joint account with his cousin, and an acquaintance’s account.

Once news of the merger leaked in April 2018, Buyer saw an immediate profit of more than $107,000, the statement added.

The next year, he bought more than $1 million of Navigant Consulting, Inc. securities ahead of the public announcement that it would be acquired by another one of Buyer’s consulting clients, Guidehouse LLP. He sold nearly all of the shares on the day that the Navigant acquisition was publicly announced and profited more than $227,000.

Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division, said: “When insiders like Buyer – an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a retired Congressman – monetize their access to material, nonpublic information, as alleged in this case, they not only violate the federal securities laws, but also undermine public trust and confidence in the fairness of our markets. We are committed to doing all we can to maintain and enhance public trust by leveling the playing field and holding Buyer accountable for illegally profiting from his access.”

The SEC seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, a permanent injunction, and an officer and director bar against Buyer. The complaint also seeks disgorgement from Buyer’s wife, Joni Lynn Buyer, who profited when Buyer executed unlawful trades in her brokerage account.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced related criminal charges, in a parallel action.

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