May 9 A former executive at an e-commerce
company that was acquired in 2011 by online retailer eBay Inc
pleaded guilty on Friday to insider trading in
connection with the takeover.
Christopher Saridakis, 45, who had led the marketing
solutions division of GSI Commerce Inc, pleaded guilty to one
count of securities fraud for leaking material nonpublic
information in March 2011 about the planned merger.
The defendant entered his plea before U.S. District Judge
Stewart Dalzell in Philadelphia, and was released on $300,000
bail, court records show. Saridakis faces a maximum 20 years in
prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 19.
"Mr. Saridakis has pleaded guilty and accepted
responsibility," said his lawyer, Richard Zack, a partner at
Pepper Hamilton. "He has done everything he can to make things
right, and he regrets the pain that his conduct has caused his
family and friends."
GSI shares rose nearly 51 percent on March 28, 2011, after
eBay announced its $1.96 billion purchase of the King of
Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company.
Investigators said Saridakis encouraged two relatives and
two friends to trade on his tips, leading to more than $300,000
of illegal profit.
On April 25, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
said Saridakis, of Greenville, Delaware, agreed to pay $664,822
and accept an officer and director ban to settle related civil
Six other defendants, including a Manhattan hair salon
owner, settled SEC charges over trading ahead of the merger.
One of the settling defendants was an unnamed trader who the
SEC said provided "early, extraordinary and unconditional"
cooperation. The regulator entered a "nonprosecution" agreement
with that defendant, its first with an individual.
The cases are U.S. v. Saridakis, U.S. District Court,
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 14-cr-00210; and SEC v.
Saridakis et al in the same court, No. 14-02397.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Matthew