The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a former Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. with insider trading. According to the SEC, in August 2018, Paul B. Powers received a confidential draft earnings release for the Audit Committee, which showed increased revenue and attendance figures for the company for the first half of 2018, and based on this information purchased 18,000 shares of SeaWorld; then, shortly after the information was publicly released and the share price rose by 17%, Powers sold his shares, realizing $65,000 in illicit profits. The SEC has charged Powers in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, with violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The settlement, which may entail penalties and disgorgement, is subject to approval by the court.
In a parallel action, on April 9, 2019, the United States Department of Justice announced that Powers had pleaded guilty to one count of insider trading. As part of the plea, Power admitted to having received material nonpublic information about the positive financial performance of SeaWorld in the first half of 2018, and to having purchased and sold shares based on that information. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled in the case.