Brian Jorgenson, an ex-employee of the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for his role in an insider-trading operation carried out during his stint as a corporate-finance manager at the tech company, Reuters reported.
Jorgenson previously pleaded guilty to a securities-fraud charge over his passing Microsoft’s confidential information to Sean Stokke, who was a day trader. This information included the company’s 2012 plan to invest in Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKS). Anticipating a rise in the value of Barnes & Noble’s shares, Stokke, who also previously pleaded guilty to insider trading, employed the nonpublic information to purchase options on Barnes & Noble stock, which netted a profit of nearly $200,000 when the bookseller’s share price subsequently jumped by about 50 percent.
In 2012, Microsoft invested $300 million in Nook Media LLC, the Barnes & Noble-controlled unit handling its digital book and electronic-reader business. The investment gave Microsoft a 17.6 percent stake in Nook Media.
Jorgenson exploited his access to confidential company information again in 2013 to enable Stokke to place bets before two of Microsoft’s quarterly earnings announcements, with the pair pocketing $400,000 in profit overall due to their insider-trading operation, Bloomberg News reported.
The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Jorgenson and Stokke with operating the insider-trading scheme last December. Stokke was sentenced to 18 months in prison July 25.
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While Jorgenson had asked for one year and a day in prison and 500 hours of community service as his sentence, U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle handed down a harsher one to “serve as a public example,” Reuters said.