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Press Release

Trillium Capital Manager Pleads Guilty to 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 pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to his role in a scheme to artificially inflate the trading price of Getty Images Holdings, Inc. and attempting to cover up the scheme.

Robert Scott Murray, 60, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for October 3, 2024.  

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. In April 2023 Murray owned approximately 300,000 GETY shares. Thereafter, Murray 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 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 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. Murray then sold all the GETY shares he owned within less than one hour for approximately $1,486,467. 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, Murray instructed his friend to delete all their text messages and to mislead law enforcement agents who had approached her by falsely telling them that they had not exchanged text messages. Murray instructed the friend that text messages are “like virginity, once you delete your virginity you ain’t getting it back.” When approached by law enforcement agents 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.

Updated June 28, 2024

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud