Therapist Settles SEC Claim He Got Takeover Tip During Sessions

(Bloomberg) -- A Seattle-based mental-health therapist settled a U.S. regulator’s claims that he used information obtained from a client during confidential counseling sessions to profit from Liberty Interactive Corp.’s 2015 takeover of Zulily Inc.

Kenneth Peer, 43, learned of the pending takeover from one of his clients, an employee at the e-commerce and retail company, during private therapy meetings in the summer of 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement Thursday. Peer sold out of other investments to buy more than $28,000 in stock in July and August of that year, the SEC said.

Zulily shares jumped 49 percent after Liberty Interactive announced the buyout on Aug. 17, 2015. Peer sold all of his Zulily stock that day, reaping more than $10,000 in profits, the SEC said.

The therapist was accused of abusing his relationship with his client and trading on information he knew or should’ve known was nonpublic. He agreed to pay about $21,000 in fines, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits and interest without admitting or denying the regulator’s findings.

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