* Yonni Sebbag admitted to wire fraud, conspiracy
* Girlfriend Bonnie Hoxie pleaded guilty to same charges
* Defendants tried to sell information to hedge funds
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
NEW YORK, Jan 28 A man who admitted to scheming
with his girlfriend to try to sell inside information about
Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) to hedge funds was sentenced to 27
months in prison.
Yonni Sebbag was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimba
Wood on Friday after pleading guilty last August to one count
of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.
His girlfriend, Bonnie Hoxie, admitted to the same two
charges in September.
Prosecutors said the pair had tried to sell information
about Disney's upcoming earnings and possible mergers, which
Hoxie learned about as an assistant to the company's corporate
communications chief, to more than 30 hedge funds. They were
arrested after several funds reported their activities to
Among the leaks were details of possible advanced talks
over a sale of Disney's ABC television network, prosecutors
said. Disney has called references to such talks "false."
Sebbag, a 30-year-old Moroccan citizen, also faces
deportation after his release from prison.
More than a dozen family members and friends -- some
clearly upset -- from Morocco and France were in attendance at
his sentencing. He had faced 27 to 33 months in prison under
federal sentencing guidelines.
His lawyer had sought a sentence of no more than a year in
prison, citing both Sebbag's "desperation" after the cafe he
ran in Hollywood began losing money and his client's resulting
"addiction" to gambling.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil
charges against Hoxie and Sebbag last May. While it was unclear
what motivated the pair, the SEC said Hoxie had told Sebbag she
coveted expensive shoes and a $700 Stella McCartney handbag.
The case is U.S. v. Sebbag, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 10-cr-00753.
(Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lisa Von