Former Amazon CFO and family charged with $ 1.4 million insider trading scheme

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused a former Amazon CFO of insider trading.

On Monday, the regulatory oversight body said that from at least January 2016 to July 2018, Laksha Bohra carried out corporate actions based on confidential information to which she had access as a member of the trade giant’s tax department. electronic.

The senior executive participated in the preparation and review of the financial statements included in Amazon’s quarterly results. Bohra allegedly took advantage of this knowledge to gamble in the market in so-called insider trading in order to reap “illicit profits”, according to the SEC.

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Bohra, 36, not only played the game herself, but also reportedly told members of her family, including her stepfather and her husband.

“Bohra has ignored quarterly reminders prohibiting it from transmitting material non-public information or recommending the purchase or sale of Amazon securities,” the SEC complaint said.

If a person has access to pre-release financial information, they may be able to buy or sell stocks and shares based on predictions of what will happen to a company’s stock price. For example, profits can drive up stock prices, while disclosure of losses or lawsuits can cause stock prices to fall.

In total, over a period of approximately two years, the former manager and her family traded 11 separate brokerage accounts, earning approximately $ 1.4 million. Bohra’s stepfather reportedly told one of the brokerage firms used that the accounts were treated as “a family affair”.

“Amazon considered [..] Pre-release financial information must be confidential, highly sensitive, material and non-public, ”the US agency said, adding in the complaint that Amazon had previously demonstrated a“ zero tolerance ”stance on the issue. with regard to insider trading.

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Amazon suspended Bohra’s employment in October 2018, resulting in Bohra’s resignation. However, the reason for the termination was not disclosed in the complaint.

Filed in federal court in Seattle, the lawsuit (.PDF) charges the three family members for violating federal securities laws.

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According to the SEC, all three agreed to repay $ 1,428,094, interest of $ 118,406 and additional penalties of $ 1,106,399.

“Employees with access to confidential company information that may influence the market cannot use this information to enrich themselves, enrich their friends or family,” commented Erin Schneider, director of the SEC regional office. in San Francisco.

Amazon declined to comment.

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