March 15, 2017 / 9:53 PM / 3 years ago

Ex-Oppenheimer adviser gets six months in U.S. insider trading case

(Reuters) - A former investment adviser at an Oppenheimer Holdings Inc was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to insider trading based on information from a childhood friend working at Pfizer Inc.

David Hobson, 48, was sentenced in federal court in Manhattan by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who recommended Hobson serve his sentence at a halfway house. Hobson was also ordered to forfeit more than $385,000.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of at least two years.

Prosecutors charged that Hobson, a Providence, Rhode Island resident, began his insider trading in 2008 while working at Royal Bank of Canada unit RBC Capital Markets and continued at Oppenheimer & Co Inc.

Hobson pleaded guilty to the charges last October. He admitted that he traded on inside information from Michael Maciocio, who at the time was a director of chemical research and development at Pfizer.

Maciocio, who pleaded guilty in May as part of a deal to cooperate with prosecutors, no longer works at Pfizer.

Maciocio’s duties included evaluating whether Pfizer would be able to manufacture drugs being developed by other companies that Pfizer might buy or partner with, according to prosecutors.

While Maciocio was not typically told the identities of companies in potential deals, he was often able to identify them through his own research, sometimes with Hobson’s help, prosecutors said.

Maciocio then passed the information to Hobson, his stockbroker, who executed trades in accounts belonging to himself, Maciocio, and clients of Oppenheimer and RBC, prosecutors said.

Trades by Hobson in the stocks of Medivation Inc, Ardea Biosciences Inc and Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc resulted in profits of $165,000 for himself, $40,000 for Maciocio and $150,000 for certain of Hobson’s clients, prosecutors said.

The case is U.S. v. Hobson, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-cr-351.

(This version of the story has been corrected at paragraph 6 to say that Michael Maciocio is no longer a Pfizer employee.)

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York

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