Stephen Buyer allegedly used inside information to buy $1.5 million in stocks
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed insider trading charges against Stephen Buyer, a former U.S. Representative for Indiana’s 4th Congressional District.
According to the SEC’s complaint, after leaving Congress in 2011, Buyer formed a consulting firm, the Steve Buyer Group, which provided services to, among other clients, T-Mobile. In March 2018, Buyer attended a golf outing with a T-Mobile executive, from whom he learned about the company’s then nonpublic plan to acquire Sprint. Buyer began purchasing Sprint securities the next day, and, ahead of the merger announcement, he acquired a total of $568,000 of Sprint common stock in his own personal accounts, a joint account with his cousin, and an acquaintance’s account. After news of the merger leaked in April 2018, Buyer saw an immediate profit of more than $107,000.
In 2019, according to the SEC’s complaint, Buyer purchased more than $1 million of Navigant Consulting, Inc. securities ahead of the public announcement that it would be acquired by another one of Buyer’s consulting clients, Guidehouse LLP. Buyer again spread the purchases across several accounts, including his own accounts, joint accounts with his wife and son, his wife’s personal account, and the same acquaintance’s account involved in the Sprint trading. The complaint alleges that, in August 2019, on the day that the Navigant acquisition was publicly announced, Buyer sold nearly all of the shares he had acquired across the various accounts and profited more than $227,000.
“When insiders like Buyer – an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a retired Congressman – monetize their access to material, nonpublic information, as alleged in this case, they not only violate the federal securities laws, but also undermine public trust and confidence in the fairness of our markets,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division. “We are committed to doing all we can to maintain and enhance public trust by leveling the playing field and holding Buyer accountable for illegally profiting from his access.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, charges Buyer with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, a permanent injunction, and an officer and director bar against Buyer. The complaint also seeks disgorgement from Buyer’s wife, Joni Lynn Buyer, who profited when Buyer executed unlawful trades in her brokerage account. In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York today announced related criminal charges.
The SEC’s investigation has been conducted by Carolyn Winters and Timothy Halloran with assistance from Jessica Regan. The investigation has been supervised by D. Mark Cave. The litigation will be led by Mr. Halloran under the supervision of Melissa Armstrong. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.