Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Friday, October 26, 2012

SEC Charges Insurance Exec with Insider Trading in Delta Petroleum Stock

The SEC charged Michael Van Gilder, an insurance company CEO, with insider trading based on confidential information he obtained in advance of a private investment firm acquiring a significant stake in a Denver-based oil and gas company. The SEC alleges that Van Gilder learned from a Delta Petroleum Corporation insider that Beverly Hills-based Tracinda — which has previously owned large portions of companies such as MGM Resorts International, General Motors, and Ford Motor Company — was planning to acquire a 35 percent stake in Delta Petroleum for $684 million. Van Gilder subsequently purchased Delta Petroleum stock and highly speculative options contracts. He tipped several others, encouraging them to do the same, including a pair of relatives via an e-mail with the subject line “Xmas present.” After Tracinda’s investment was publicly announced, Delta Petroleum’s stock price shot up by almost 20 percent. Van Gilder and his tippees made more than $161,000 in illegal trading profits.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado today announced a parallel criminal action against Van Gilder.

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