Matthew C. Devlin, 35, a former Lehman Brothers broker, is being charged with insider trading by Manhattan Federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is alleged that he acquired tips from his wife, Nina Devlin, who is a partner at Brunswick Group LLC, an international public relations firm.
According to the Associated Press, the scheme earned a staggering $4.8 million for the people whom Devlin tipped off. In exchange for his tips, authorities are alleging that Devlin was “rewarded with gifts including cash, a Cartier watch, a widescreen television and tuition at a Porsche driving school.”
As noted above, the SEC is alleging that Matthew C. Devlin used inside information gleaned from his wife. They claim that the fraudulent activity has been going on for about four years (from March 2004 through last July), and it involved information pertaining to a number of pending mergers and acquisitions.
Devlin’s wife, Nina, is being represented by attorney Jim Benjamin. Benjamin claims that Matthew C. Devlin obtained the information without Nina’s knowledge. He says that that Devlin pilfered the information by, as the AP puts it, “being close to her and monitoring her travel schedule.”
The Brunswick Group LLC is an international firm that employs hundred of people in offices all around the world. They specialize in counseling companies on matters pertaining to corporate communications and opinion research.
In a statement, the company referred to the fraudulent activity as a “violation of trust between husband and wife.” The statement also noted that Nina Devlin was unaware of her husband’s fraudulent actions and that she is “devastated by these events.” The company also notes that Nina Devlin has not been “implicated in any way.”
Mary Mulligan, Matthew Devlin’s attorney, says that Devlin (who pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud) has accepted full responsibility for his crimes, and he deeply regrets the pain he has caused his wife.”
Playboy Playmate Maria Checa’s Involvement
The SEC is alleging that Devlin passed on secrets to a number of clients and friends. One of those friends was Jamil Bouchareb, a trader from Miami Beach. The SEC claims that Bouchareb made millions of dollars from the insider knowledge furnished to him by Devlin. He in turn passed along information and shared some of his windfall with his girlfriend, Maria Checa, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the month in August of 1994.
The SEC is alleging that Checa used information provided to her by Bouchareb to trade in her accounts. The SEC considers her to be a “relief defendant,” which means that the SEC can recoup illegal profits from her, but she will not be accused of any “wrongdoing.”
On the Playboy website, Checa says her “turn offs” include “People who are dishonest, self-centered and have no ambition.” Hmmm.
Source: Larry Neumeister, Lehman broker charged in insider trading case, Associated Press, December 19,