Former Apple lawyer pleads guilty to insider trading

Gene Daniel Levoff, a former attorney responsible for Apple Inc.’s insider trading policy, leaves federal court in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

Nathan Dvir | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The former Apple corporate lawyer pleaded guilty Thursday to insider trading charges, for what prosecutors called a five-year trading plan ahead of the iPhone maker’s quarterly earnings announcements.

Gene Levoff, 48, of San Carlos, Calif., pleaded guilty to six securities fraud charges during a hearing before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey.

Levoff allegedly exploited his roles as corporate secretary, head of corporate law and co-chairman of a committee that reviewed Apple’s earnings drafts to generate $604,000 in illegal gains on more than $14 million in securities transactions. 2011 to 2016.

Prosecutors said Levoff ignored quarterly “blackout periods” that prohibited trading before Apple’s earnings release, as well as the company’s broader insider trading policy — that he was responsible for enforcing.

“Gene Levoff betrayed the trust of one of the world’s largest technology companies for his own financial gain,” First Assistant US Attorney Vikas Khanna in New Jersey said in a statement.

A lawyer for Levoff did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of $5 million, although Levoff’s sentence is likely to be much less. Levoff’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., fired Levoff in September 2018, five months before he faced criminal charges. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has filed related civil charges.

Authorities said servers were located in New Jersey for the companies that handled Levoff’s trades, explaining why the criminal case was filed in that state.

The case is US v. Levoff, US District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 19-cr-00780.

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