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Press Release

Trillium Capital Manager Charged With Securities Fraud Scheme Involving Getty Images

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant previously served as CEO of Stream Global Services and 3Com

BOSTON – A Mashpee man has been charged, and has agreed to plead guilty, in connection with a scheme to artificially inflate the trading price of Getty Images Holdings, Inc. and attempting to cover up the alleged scheme.

Robert Scott Murray, 60, has been charged and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. 

Getty Images Holdings, Inc. (Getty) is a visual media company and supplier of images, videos and music, headquartered in Seattle. Getty’s stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GETY. Murray was a long-time investor who previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of multiple public companies, including Stream Global Services and 3Com. It is alleged that in April 2023 Murray owned approximately 300,000 GETY shares. Thereafter, Murray allegedly issued press releases and sent emails in the name of Trillium Capital LLC – a “venture investment company” located in Massachusetts of which Murray was the sole owner and manager – urging that Getty add Murray to its board of directors. Murray’s efforts to join Getty’s board of directors failed.

Murray allegedly proceeded to make false and misleading statements, including through press releases and in media interviews, with the purpose of artificially inflating the GETY trading price so that Murray could sell the GETY shares he owned at the artificially inflated price. On Friday, April 21, 2023, GETY shares closed at a trading price of $5.06 per share. On Monday, April 24, 2023, prior to the market opening, Murray allegedly caused the publication of a press release in which Trillium Capital made a proposal to acquire Getty for “$10 per share.” When the market opened, GETY shares traded at $7.88 per share, nearly 56 percent above the prior closing price. According to court documents, Murray then sold all the GETY shares he owned within less than one hour for approximately $1,486,467. It is further alleged that Murray’s friend, who Murray had previously instructed to buy GETY shares, also sold shares that same morning at Murray’s direction for approximately $558,328.

On or about Dec. 6, 2023, at the direction of law enforcement, Murray’s friend texted Murray, “I just got a subpoena from the SEC” and “they’re asking me for any communications with you” related to “Getty stock.” Murray allegedly responded, “just say there were none” and “you should delete all my texts.” Murray further stated that text messages are “like virginity, once you delete your virginity you ain’t getting it back.” On or about that same day, it is alleged that Murray emailed his friend a proposed response to the subpoena, which falsely stated that the friend bought Getty stock “solely based on my read of the various press releases from Trillium Capital and my knowledge that Scott Murray is a very experienced investor” and “not from any communications from Scott Murray or Trillium Capital.” It is further alleged that when approached by law enforcement in February 2024, Murray falsely denied telling his friend to buy Getty shares.

The charge of securities fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Murray alleging violations of the securities laws.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Division made the announcement. The Securities and Exchange Commission provided valuable assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Markham of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 31, 2024

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud