IBM ex-VP pleads guilty to biggest insider trading fraud ever

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Robert Moffat, Jr, a man who probably used to pull down a 7-figure salary at IBM, will now be relegated to the life of a white-collar criminal.

Moffat appeared in a Manhattan federal court today, where he pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy and securities fraud.

The New York District Attorney's office says this is the largest hedge fund insider trading case ever.

From August 2008 to October 2008, Moffat fed confidential information about company earnings, deals in negotiation, planned announcements, and other details to a friend who worked for New Castle Partners, a hedge fund group affiliated with JPMorgan Chase.

Though it was just a few months, Moffat and his friend were able to manipulate the market and shuffle around thousands of shares of stock based on information that was illegally shared. Officials suspected Moffat might be engaging in back-door deals and the government stepped in to secretly monitor his calls (wiretapping). That's where they got concrete proof.

With one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, Moffat faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or even more if the illegally-obtained money from his market manipulation is more than $125,000. The count of actually committing securities fraud draws a penalty of as much as 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

Sentencing was scheduled for July 26.