LawFuel.com – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York,
announced that THOMAS C. CONRADT, a former stock broker at a securities trading firm
(“Securities Trading Firm-1”), pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to charges arising
from his involvement in an insider trading scheme.
The alleged scheme involved the
misappropriation of material, non-public information (“Inside Information”) concerning IBM’s
acquisition of a software company, SPSS, Inc., in 2009. CONRADT was charged in November
2012, and pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. pursuant to a
According to the Indictment to which CONRADT pled guilty, statements made during
the plea proceeding, and other court documents:
The Inside Information concerning IBM’s acquisition of SPSS originated from a
corporate lawyer who was part of the legal team that represented IBM in the transaction
(“Attorney-1”) in 2009. On May 31, 2009, Attorney-1 shared Inside Information concerning the
transaction, including the names of the parties and the fact that IBM was going to acquire SPSS
for a significant premium over its market price, with his close friend, Trent Martin, a former
research analyst at an international financial services firm. The information was shared in
confidence and, based on their longstanding history of sharing confidences, Attorney-1 expected
that Martin would not share the information or use it to trade.
However, in June and July 2009, Martin bought SPSS common stock and call option
contracts based on the Inside Information he was given by Attorney-1 and, in turn, shared the tip
with his roommate, CONRADT, who worked as a stock broker at a securities trading firm
(“Securities Trading Firm-1”). In June and July 2009, CONRADT bought SPSS common stock
and tipped David J. Weishaus, his co-worker at Securities Trading Firm-1, who also bought
SPSS common stock and call options. CONRADT and Weishaus also tipped their co-workers at
Securities Trading Firm-1 (“CC-1 and CC-2”), who then bought SPSS call option contracts.
When IBM announced its acquisition of SPSS on July 28, 2009, the share price of SPSS
common stock rose by 41% in one day. Thereafter, Martin, CONRADT, Weishaus, CC-1, and
CC-2 sold their SPSS positions, yielding total profits of approximately $1 million.
* * *
CONRADT, 35, of Denver, Colorado, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit
securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud. The conspiracy count carries a maximum
sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the
offense. The securities fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a
maximum fine of $5 million. As part of his plea agreement, CONRADT agreed to forfeit his
share of the proceeds obtained from the offense. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge
Carter on October 3, 2013.
Weishaus is next scheduled to appear before Judge Carter on June 5, 2013. Martin was
arrested in in Hong Kong in December 2012 pursuant to a request from the United States and
extradited to the United States in March 2013. Martin is next scheduled to appear before Judge
Carter on April 10, 2013. The charges against Weishaus and Martin are merely accusations.
They are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI. He also thanked the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Bharara noted that the investigation is continuing.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud
Enforcement Task Force, on which Mr. Bharara serves as a Co-Chair of the Securities and
Commodities Fraud Working Group. The task force was
established to wage an aggressive,
coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20
federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition
of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since
its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and
prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state
and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and
conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over
the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases
against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants.
more information on the task force, please visit
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Zach and David B. Massey are in charge of the prosecution.