Former Apple lawyer ordered to pay $1.15 million fine to SEC for insider trading

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – A former Apple lawyer who avoided jail time after pleading guilty to insider trading must pay a $1.15 million fine in a related civil case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, New Jersey, said that while Gene Levoff “did not live in excess, his violations were nonetheless especially egregious” given the lawyer’s past role in enforcing Apple’s insider trading policies.

Levoff had been a senior director of corporate law at Apple before the iPhone maker fired him in September 2018.

Five months later, prosecutors charged him with trading securities based on advance nonpublic information about earnings announcements by Cupertino, California-based Apple.

Levoff pleaded guilty to securities fraud in June 2022 and was sentenced by Martini in December to four years of probation, 2,000 hours of community service and a $604,000 fine.

The SEC’s proposed fine was three times Levoff’s estimated $384,400 profit or avoided losses on six trades.

In court papers, Levoff called the fine unnecessary, saying he had already been punished enough and made no effort to conceal his stressed trading, which he called “self-sabotage.”

But the judge said Levoff, a Stanford law school graduate, knew his trading was improper and could afford the fine given his estimated net worth of $13 million.

“Regardless of the motive for which he was trying to get caught, he acted knowingly and deliberately,” Martini wrote.

Kevin Marino, Levoff’s attorney, said in an email: “We are of course disappointed, but Judge Martini has been fair and impartial throughout this case and we respect his decision. Mr. Levoff is happy to put this matter behind him and move on with his life.”

The case is SEC v Levoff, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 19-05536.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Richard Chang)

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