Blindsided by love, says accused ex-Disney employee

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:10pm EST

* Bonnie Hoxie gets three years' probation in trading case

* Hoxie pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud

* Vulnerable to manipulation in insider trading case-judge

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - She did it for love, a designer handbag and shoes.

Bonnie Hoxie, a former Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) executive's secretary, told a federal judge on Tuesday she was "blindsided by love" and "did not make the correct choices" in giving confidential company information to her then-boyfriend a year ago.

The judge sentenced the 34-year-old Hoxie to three years' probation for her role in the misguided insider trading caper. She pleaded guilty in September to charges of conspiracy and wire fraud.

"It was completely irresponsible, complete bad judgment," a tearful Hoxie told Judge Alvin Hellerstein in U.S. District Court in New York.

The sentence calls for four months home confinement, but Hellerstein said Hoxie could continue to work her two jobs daily as a waitress in Los Angeles. The judge also ordered her to serve 100 hours community service.

"She is a vulnerable person and she was manipulated by someone who thought to gain something quick," the judge said.

Hoxie's former boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Jan. 28 after pleading guilty to trying to sell information to hedge funds about Disney's earnings and possible mergers. He agreed to forfeit $15,000.

In a civil complaint, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Hoxie had told Sebbag she coveted expensive shoes and a $700 Stella McCartney handbag.

The pair were arrested when the hedge funds alerted authorities. Undercover FBI agents lured Sebbag into a meeting in New York and then later arrested them.

The cases are U.S. v. Hoxie, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-00879 and USA v Sebbag No. 10-00753 in the same court. (Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Gary Hill)