First rule of insider trading: don't research how to do it from your work computer.*
In a complaint filed Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Robert Ramnarine, a pharmaceutical executive, with insider trading -- in the process offering a look at how Ramnarine allegedly went about it. (Hat tip to Business Insider.)
The SEC complaint accuses Ramnarine of trading shares in companies that his employer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, was looking at buying. When one company gets purchased by another, its stock usually goes up, and Ramnarine was allegedly able to make a tidy $311,361 by playing the market armed with information the public didn't yet know.
According to the complaint, Ramnarine allegedly searched the Web at some point during the insider trading, evidently to figure out if he could get away with it.
The complaint states that "[u]sing his work computer, Ramnarine conducted a search on www.yahoo.com for 'can option be traced to purchaser.' He conducted similar searches for the following phrases: 'can stock option be traced to purchase inside trading' and 'how to detect can stock option be traced to purchase inside trading.'"
And... we'll just pause while thousands and thousands of people delete their search histories.
Dow Jones Newswires unsuccessfully attempted to reach, by phone, a Robert Ramnarine of East Brunswick, N.J. The news organization reports that Bristol-Myers put Ramnarine on administrative leave.
The complaint goes on to allege that Ramnarine also searched for the following phrases: "insider trading options," "insider trading options trace," "illegal insider trading options trace," and "insider trading options trace illegal."
Frankly, to us the most surprising thing here is that someone used Yahoo to search the Web.
*Kids! The first rule of insider trading is DON'T DO IT. It's bad, and you'll probably get caught, and you'll look super silly. Remember this guy?
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