Monday, June 22, 2020

Harleysville

A former Fox Rothschild partner has been suspended for four years by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as a consequence of a federal criminal conviction.

Philadelphia Business Journal reported on the conviction

A former Fox Rothschild partner was sentenced to six months in prison for insider trading after making moves with stock of Harleysville Group in advance of the 2011 announcement of a $760 million merger between the insurance carrier and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

A federal judge in Philadelphia also sentenced Herbert Sudfeld, 64, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania to three years supervised release and 50 hours of community service. He was not fined.

Sudfeld was convicted in February of insider trading and making a false statement following an indictment last summer. At that time, he had been a partner at Bucks County law firm Curtin & Heefner since August 2012.

When the Harleysville-Nationwide deal was announced, he was a real estate partner for Fox Rothschild, which was representing Harleysville in the deal.

While he was not working directly on the transaction, prosecutors said he learned the merger announcement was imminent from a conversation between an attorney working on the transaction and their shared legal assistant.

On September 28, 2011, prior to the public announcement of the merger agreement, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia said Sudfeld allegedly contacted his stockbroker to purchase Harleysville stock.

The next day, the two companies’ publicly announced the merger and Harleysville stock rose by more than 85 percent over the prior day’s trading.

Prosecutors said Sudfeld then sold the shares he had bought a day earlier, netting personal profits of approximately $75,530.

The indictment further alleged that Sudfeld falsely told FBI agents, who were investigating insider trading, that he was not aware of the Harleysville stock transactions until several days to a week later.

Prosecutors said Sudfeld also falsely told investigators that he had informed his broker that he could not be involved in trades of Harleysville stock due to his position at his law firm. Prosecutors said he also falsely claimed that he did not discuss Harleysville trades with his broker until after they were completed.

This is the second insider trading case in as many years involving the Harleysville-Nationwide deal.

In February 2015, Joel J. Epstein of Huntingdon Valley agreed to pay $495,627 to settle charges that he took insider information from his son, whose girlfriend worked at Fox Rothschild as an administrative assistant for a lawyer working on the deal, and tipped off four other people who also acted on the inside information.

The saction was imposed retroactive to an interim suspension. (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2020/06/a-former-fox-rothschild-partner-has-been-suspended-for-four-years-by-the-pennsylvania-supreme-court-philadelphia-business-j.html

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