DOJ : Several Admit Guilt In Biotech Insider Trading Scam

A Sequenom Inc. patent agent and his brother have pleaded guilty to conspiring to trade stock options of the maker of a genetic analysis product using inside information says the Department of Justice. According to court documents, the patent agent Aaron Scalia of San Diego and his brother Stephen of Baltimore used the private company info to help make trades. Aaron was employed as a patent agent in Sequenom’s legal department where he interacted with scientists who were working on confidential intellectual property. In 2008 and 2009, he gave inside information about the company to his brother which he knew would be used to buy stocks or stock options. Stephen then passed the information to his college friend Brett Cohen, who told his uncle David Myers, who purchased the securities for a profit of over $600,000. In a separate occurrence, Aaron Scalia revealed to his brother that the company was having problems with the development of its genetics screening test. When he passed this information to his brother, it was used to buy $40,000 worth of “put options” which would increase in value as the company share price declined. The shares did go down upon official release of the information about the diagnostic test and Myers made another profit of over $600,000. Myers also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, sentencing to happen in April.