Securities Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Boston Jury Finds Former Fidelity Investments Trader Engaged in Insider Trading

The SEC announced that a federal jury in Boston returned a verdict on Nov. 20, 2009 in favor of the SEC against a former Fidelity Investments trader for insider trading. David K. Donovan, of Massachusetts, was found to have engaged in insider trading in stock of Covad Communications Group, Inc. ("Covad"). The jury found Donovan's co-defendant, David R. Hinkle of Texas, not liable for insider trading.

In its complaint, the SEC had alleged that, between July and Sept. 2003, Donovan obtained confidential information on Fidelity's internal order database that Fidelity was purchasing a substantial amount of Covad common stock for its advisory clients. The Commission's complaint alleged that after viewing Fidelity's orders and being denied permission by Fidelity to buy Covad stock in his own personal account, Donovan caused purchases of the stock to be made in early August 2003 in the account of his mother. According to the Commission's complaint, Donovan's mother profited after later selling the Covad stock in early Sept. 2003, after the price of Covad stock had increased.

The jury heard closing arguments in the seven-day trial on Nov. 19, 2009 and announced its verdict the next day. In rendering its verdict, the jury found that David Donovan engaged in insider trading by knowingly giving to his mother material, nonpublic information concerning Covad stock in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Although the jury found that Donovan tipped his mother to inside information about Covad, it did not find that he tipped co-defendant David Hinkle to inside information, and did not find Hinkle liable for insider trading.

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