United States v. Newman

In its first insider trading decision in nearly two decades, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold an insider trading conviction of an individual (tippee) who traded while aware of material non-public information (MNPI) received from a friend (tipper) who did not receive a financial benefit for providing the tip. Salman v. United States, No. 15-628, 2016 WL 7078448 (U.S. Dec. 6, 2016). The ruling, written by Justice Samuel Alito, settles a split of authority between the US Court of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits regarding whether a tipper receives a “personal benefit” for purposes of establishing insider trading liability by simply conveying MNPI to a family member or friend.
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A federal jury in the District of Massachusetts recently convicted Eric McPhail of securities fraud — one of the first criminal insider trading convictions since the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Newman.

The allegations arose out of information Mr. McPhail received from a close friend— an executive at American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) — who was a member of the same country club and went on golf and other trips together. This information allegedly included nonpublic information about AMSC’s business activities. According to the government, Mr. McPhail then gave this information to other friends of his, who made trades based on the information and earned more than $500,000. Mr. McPhail is alleged to have tipped those friends in return for golf tournament fees and meals, and to have told one of them after a tip that he “like[s] Pinot Noir and love[s] steak…looking forward to getting paid back.”
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