The Securities and Exchange Commission charged 10 people and two companies with insider trading.
According to the SEC, John Femenia was the ringleader. He worked for Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte. The SEC says he used confidential information about four mergers and traded illegally, making him and his ring more than $11 million in the process.
The SEC says Femenia would tip off Shawn Hegedus, who then spread the word to certain people across five states. The SEC charged 10 suspects and two businesses, Coram Real Estate Holdings and Goldstar P.S.
The SEC issued a statement about Femenia, saying, "[He] basically started a phone tree of nonpublic information to enrich friends and others." The SEC believes at least one trader gave Femenia part of the profits.
Wells Fargo emailed WSOC, stating "[We] have a zero-tolerance policy for the misuse of such information."
A federal judge froze the defendants’ assets. The SEC thinks two other people have some of the money, so the federal government named them as relief defendants in the criminal complaint.