A computer systems engineer at the Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati was charged with trading on inside information about potential mergers and acquisitions he learned on the job.
Dimitry Braverman, 41, is the second employee in three years at the Palo Alto, California-based firm to be charged with insider trading.
Braverman used computerized records at the law firm to identify companies involved in possible acquisitions, including Gymboree Corp., Drugstore.com Inc., Epicor Software Corp. and Seagate Technology Plc, according to charges made public today in Manhattan federal court. He was arrested in San Mateo, California.
Braverman temporarily suspended his insider trading when a Wilson Sonsini lawyer was arrested in an unrelated insider trading scheme in 2011, according to prosecutors. The lawyer, Matthew Kluger, pleaded guilty and is serving a 12-year sentence, the longest-ever in an insider-trading case.
“Today’s charges against a staff member are deeply disturbing to say the least,” Courtney Dorman, a Wilson Sonsini spokeswoman, said today in an e-mailed statement. “Client confidentiality is at the center of all we do, and we have strict policies and internal controls established to protect it. We have and will continue to provide our full support to the federal investigation.”
Braverman made almost $300,000 from the illegal trading, the U.S. said. He had access to billing records and attorney time sheets created when the firm opened new accounts or checked for conflicts of interest, according to the government.
Braverman, who lives in San Mateo and worked in Wilson Sonsini’s Palo Alto office, was also sued today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was put on administrative leave, Dorman said.
Braverman used inside information, from September 2010 until the end of 2013, relating to eight transactions involving Wilson Sonsini clients to trade, according to prosecutors. The SEC claimed Braverman passed tips to his brother on two of the deals. The brother, who isn’t identified or named as a defendant in the criminal case or the SEC suit, made $1,800 from the illegal tips, according to the SEC.
Braverman also traded securities in an account opened in the name of a relative, Vitaly Pupynin, who lives in Russia. Braverman paid $40,300 to Pupynin, according to the SEC complaint, which names the Russian relative as a defendant.
The SEC claims Braverman and his brother purchased Seagate shares and options in March 2011, when Wilson Sonsini was representing the maker of computer hard drives in a transaction with Samsung Electronics Co. Hours after the arrest of Kluger, a Wilson Sonsini lawyer in Washington, became public, Braverman sold his Seagate holdings at a loss, according to the regulator. Braverman’s brother sold his Seagate call options two days later.
Braverman resumed his illegal trades, using an account in the name of Pupynin, in November 2012, according to the government.
Kluger, 53, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to leading a 17-year insider trading scheme that generated $37 million in illegal profits. Kluger, the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning social historian Richard Kluger, is serving his sentence in a West Virginia federal prison. He’s due to be released in 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Wilson Sonsini has 14 offices in the U.S., Asia and Europe, according to its website.
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