Feds Charge Analyst with Apple-related Insider Trading

Former tech industry analyst John Kinnucan was hit with several Federal charges related to insider trading that revealed secret information about unreleased Apple products including the iPhone. Mr. Kinnucan was charged with two counts of securities fraud and two conspiracy counts for leaking proprietary information that was used in hedge fund investments.

Federal investigators arrested Mr. Kinnucan late last week after conducting a year-long investigation that uncovered evidence showing he paid industry insiders for information that he then passed on to hedge fund investors. The deals allegedly netted Mr. Kinnucan hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Reuters.

John Kinnucan charged with insider tradingAnalyst charged with paying for industry secrets, insider trading

“John Kinnucan used financial incentives, fancy meals and other inducements to curry favor with public company insiders so they would serve up their employers’ secrets,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

One insider Mr. Kinnucan allegedly worked with was former Flextronics executive Walter Shimoon. Mr. Shimoon pled guilty last July to selling secret information about the iPhone to hedge fund investors.

Mr. Shimoon admitted to accepting US$27,500 from Mr. Kinnucan’s firm in exchange for insider information — an accusation that Mr. Kinnucan denied.

Authorities claim a former Carlson Capital hedge fund manager, presumed to be Dan Grossman, received information from Mr. Kinnucan. The firm said Mr. Grossman left in March 2011 after working for only nine months, and it is assisting with the Federal investigation.

He previously worked for Level Global, a firm the FBI shut down for insider trading.

Former SanDisk executive Don Barnetson pled guilty last week to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his involvement in sharing trade secrets for hedge fund investors. Evidence in the investigation, along with his testimony, dovetail nicely with the case against Mr. Kinnucan.

Along with information about Apple and SanDisk, Mr. Kinnucan is said to have gathered and sold insider information about F5 Networks and Flextronics.

Mr. Kinnucan is also facing a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil case for his alleged involvement in insider trading.