Former Malibu Resident Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Prison for Conning Investors with Bogus Promises of Discounted Alibaba IPO Shares
LOS ANGELES – A former employee at a publicly traded Pasadena-based company has agreed to plead guilty to buying more than 66,000 company shares based on non-public information that the company was about to be acquired at a higher per-share price, and then selling the shares after news of the acquisition became public, resulting in nearly $500,000 in ill-gotten gains, the Justice Department announced today.
Marco Antonio Perez, 59, a.k.a. “Marc Perez,” of Glendora, is charged with one count of insider trading, a felony that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Both the information charging Perez and his plea agreement were filed this morning in United States District Court. Perez has been ordered to make his initial appearance in this case on October 5.
According to the plea agreement, General Finance Corp., a Pasadena-based storage and modular space company, employed Perez as an accounting manager who reported to the company’s chief financial officer. He also performed assignments for the company’s chairman, including printing out the chairman’s emails. As a result, Perez had access to material information belonging to General Finance, including offers to buy the company, before the information was released to the investing public.
In violation of his fiduciary duties to General Finance and its shareholders, and in violation of the company’s policy against insider trading, in March and April of 2021, Perez purchased a total of 66,585 shares of General Finance stock which he was later able to sell for a total of $1,262,815. Perez purchased the General Finance stock after reading confidential emails sent to the company’s chairman in early 2021 that concerned the pending sale of General Finance for a price in the range of $19-$20 per share. Perez paid prices between $10 and $12 for the 66,585 shares he bought.
General Finance was ultimately sold to the Stamford, Connecticut-based United Rentals Inc. On April 15, 2021, United Rentals issued a press release announcing that it was acquiring General Finance for $19 per share. Prior to this announcement, General Finance’s share price closed that day at $12.17. The day after United Rentals’ announcement, the price of General Finance shares surged from $12.17 – the closing price before the announcement – to $19 per share.
Within two weeks of the announcement, Perez sold all 66,585 shares he had purchased on inside information, netting a profit of approximately $488,533.
In his plea agreement, Perez also admitted to tipping off two people about the impending sale of General Finance, which also violated General Finance’s policy against insider trading. Both individuals acted on Perez’s inside information and made profits of $127,140 and $34,867, respectively.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission today announced civil charges against Perez stemming from his illegal activity in this case.
The FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Ranee A. Katzenstein and Steven M. Arkow of the Major Frauds Section are prosecuting this case.
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