February 2, 2024

Former tech employee receives lenient sentence for insider trading

On January 26, 2024, Judge Edgardo Ramos of the US District court for the Southern District of New York handed down a relatively lenient sentence in the case of a former technical support employee at a tutoring company who pleaded guilty on April 10, 2023 to one count of securities fraud in connection with an insider trading scheme.

According to court documents, Wong purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of shares of Pandion Therapeutics, Inc. in advance of its acquisition by Merck & Co, after learning of the anticipated transaction from his friend Seth Markin.  As detailed in the documents, Wong purchased shares on his own account, and, together with Markin, caused at least 20 people to trade in Pandion stock.  Following the public announcement of the acquisition, Pandion shares rose sharply in value.  Thereafter Markin, Wong, and other tippees sold their shares, making a large profit and enabling Wong to purchase luxury items and a home in Florida.

Wong was sentenced to five months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and forfeiture of $1,353,673.54.  Earlier, Wong settled insider trading charges with the US Securities in Exchange Commission, agreeing on the entry of a consent order enjoining him from future violations and providing for the possibility of an order of disgorgement in the future.

Seth Markin, who originally obtained the material non-public information and tipped Brandon Wong, pleaded guilty on December 4, 2023 and agreed to the forfeiture of $82,366.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13, 2024.

Brian Wong, Brandon’s brother and one of his tippees, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tender offer fraud; he received a sentence of three years of probation with six months of home confinement, a $5,000 fine and forfeiture of $403,375.  He also settled with the SEC in November 2022.  Likewise, tippee Jonathan Becker pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and was sentenced to three years of probation and six months of home confinement, and forfeiture of $266,859.