14:57, May 12 369 0 abajournal.com

2017-05-12 14:57:04
Former Foley & Lardner partner is charged with insider trading

Federal prosecutors allege a former Foley & Lardner partner accessed confidential documents on the firm’s computer network to make stock trades that reaped him more than $320,000 in profits.

Prosecutors charged 43-year-old Florida lawyer Walter “Chet” Little of Apollo Beach, Florida, along with a neighbor, 49-year-old Andrew Berke, report Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog and the Am Law Daily. They face charges of securities fraud and conspiring to commit securities fraud, according to a press release.

Little is accused of trading on nonpublic information from 11 upcoming corporate announcements, according to the civil complaint (PDF) by the Securities and Exchange Commission, He is accused of passing the information to Berke, who allegedly traded in advance of at least six corporate announcements.

The civil complaint says Little made nearly $364,000 in profits and Berke made more than $640,000 in profits, while the criminal complaint (PDF) says Little made more than $327,000 and Berke made more than $668,000.

Little allegedly accessed the information between February 2015 and about May 2016 regarding companies for which he did no legal work, according to the criminal complaint. He was a member of Foley & Lardner’s real estate group in Tampa at the time, according to the civil complaint.

A Foley & Lardner spokesman told the publications the firm learned about the alleged activity in June 2016 and reported it to authorities. Little joined Bradley Arant Boult Cummings the next month.

“We take this matter very seriously, and we have zero tolerance for actions that violate our core values and the trust our clients place in us,” said the spokesman, Daniel Farrell.

Bradley Arant chairman and managing partner Beau Grenier said the firm learned of Little’s arrest on Thursday, and he is no longer with the firm as of that day. Grenier said the firm did not know about the investigation. The firm is “deeply committed to upholding and exceeding the highest ethical standards and professional conduct,” he said in a statement provided to the publications.

A lawyer for Little told the Am Law Daily that Little maintains his innocence.