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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Oregon Biotech Consultant Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading Scheme

BOSTON – An Oregon biotechnology consultant pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston in connection with his role in an insider trading scheme involving the acquisition of a Cambridge biotechnology company in 2017.

Mark Joseph Ahn, 58, of Lake Oswego, Ore., pleaded guilty to two counts of securities fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for June 7, 2021.

From April to August 2017, Ahn, a long-time senior corporate executive and board director for biotech companies, worked as a consultant for a New York firm, and advised it during its efforts to acquire Dimension Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech firm formerly headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. In the course of his work for the New York firm, Ahn learned Dimension’s intention to be acquired by another biotech firm, the details and the timing of his employer’s proposals to acquire Dimension and gained access to confidential information about Dimension’s business. Ahn thereafter bought Dimension stock while in possession of that nonpublic information. When Dimension announced that it would be acquired in August 2017, its stock increased 262% in one day.

The SEC previously filed a separate civil action against Ahn in federal court in Boston.

The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office received valuable assistance from the Securities & Exchange Commission. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated March 2, 2021