Apple Ex-Corporate Law Chief Admits Years of Insider Trading

(Bloomberg) -- The Apple Inc. lawyer who was once responsible for enforcing the company’s insider trading policy admitted he used his access to draft SEC filings to personally profit.

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Gene Levoff, Apple’s former director of corporate law, pleaded guilty on Thursday to six counts of securities fraud between 2011 and 2016. Levoff, 48, was co-chairman of the company’s disclosure committee, which allowed him to see Apple’s revenue and earnings statements before they were filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Levoff on several occasions made trades within quarterly blackout periods, even after telling other employees that they were prohibited from trading in Apple stock, according to federal prosecutors in New Jersey. He used the information to make $227,000 in profit and and to avoid losses of $377,000, according to the government.

“Gene Levoff betrayed the trust of one of the world’s largest tech companies for his own financial gain,” New Jersey US Attorney Vikas Khanna said in a statement. “Despite being responsible for enforcing Apple’s own ban on insider trading, Levoff used his position of trust to commit insider trading in order to line his own pockets.”

Levoff’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stanford Law Grad

US District Judge William J. Martini in Newark, New Jersey set Levoff’s sentencing for Nov. 10. The charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, though he is unlikely to get that much time.

The Stanford Law School graduate, who joined Apple in 2008, was first charged in 2019. Apple fired him in September 2018 after placing him on leave two months earlier, according to a filing in a related lawsuit by the SEC. Over his decade-long career at Apple, he was one of the company’s most senior legal executives, reporting directly to the general counsel.

Levoff last year tried to have the case thrown out as unconstitutional, arguing that no statute specifically bars insider trading. Prosecutors called his argument a bogus “Hail Mary,” and it was rejected by the judge.

The case is US v. Levoff, 19-cr-00780, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

(Updates with background on case.)

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