A former Apple attorney who was in charge of preventing insider trading has pleaded guilty to six counts of securities fraud for insider trading, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. Jean Levoff, once the company’s former corporate secretary and director of corporate law, from February 2011 to April 2016 “abused material, non-public information about Apple’s financial results and then carried out trades involving the company’s stock”, stated in the release. The charges against him were initially filed by the SEC in 2019 as a civil complaint.
Levoff also served on Apple’s Disclosure Committee, a group that oversaw the company’s earnings reports and SEC filings prior to publication. According to the DOJ, using information he kept secret, he was reportedly able to realize profits of “about $227,000 on some trades” and avoid losses of “about $377,000 on others”. Levoff also disregarded the company’s quarterly “blackout periods,” even after telling others that they could not buy or sell Apple stock during that time, and the company’s insider trading policy.
Notably, Levoff was a co-chair of Apple’s disclosure committee, which reviewed and discussed draft of the company’s quarterly and annual earnings materials and periodic U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings before being publicly disclosed. . Levoff mined these materials for insider information about Apple to guide his decision to buy and sell Apple stock ahead of its earnings announcements. When Apple posted strong revenue and net profit for a given fiscal quarter, it bought a large amount of stock, which it later sold for a profit after the market reacted to the news. When there was less than expected revenue and net profit, Levoff sold a large amount of Apple stock to avoid significant losses.
Levoff will be sentenced on November 10. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.