NEW YORK (AP) — A former Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. financial adviser accused of teaming up with a childhood friend who worked at Pfizer to trade on secrets about acquisitions the drugmaker was considering was arrested on insider trading charges Friday.
David Hobson was arrested at his home in Providence, Rhode Island, and later was released after an appearance in federal court in Providence. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors said Hobson had carried out the insider-trading scheme between 2008 and 2014 by working with his childhood friend Michael Maciocio, who worked for Pfizer Inc.
Federal authorities allege that Maciocio obtained confidential business data about other pharmaceutical firms that Pfizer was considering acquiring and then used the nonpublic information to trade in their stocks, making about $116,000 in illegal profits. Maciocio is accused of tipping off Hobson, a stockbroker, who officials said then used the information to rake in about $187,000 for himself and $145,000 for his customers.
Maciocio, whose job at Pfizer had him evaluate whether the company could manufacture certain drug compounds in-house, was not usually provided with the name of the company Pfizer was planning to acquire and relied on the information he received from the company, including the drug's chemical structure, the phase of any clinical trials and the company's code name, to identify the companies, prosecutors said.
Maciocio, of Wakefield, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty two weeks ago to conspiracy and securities fraud charges, according to federal prosecutors. His attorney did not immediately respond to a comment request Friday.
A spokeswoman for Pfizer said the company had cooperated with authorities and fired Maciocio as soon as it learned of the allegations. Oppenheimer said it also cooperated with law enforcement and would continue to do so.
Besides the criminal charges, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against the two men, who are in their 40s, seeking an unspecified monetary penalty.
Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.
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