Ex-Apple Lawyer’s Insider-Trading ‘Hail Mary’ Opposed by U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- A former Apple Inc. lawyer is making a bogus “Hail Mary” argument that insider-trading charges against him are unconstitutional, U.S. prosecutors told a federal judge in New Jersey.

Gene Levoff, previously a senior in-house lawyer specializing in corporate law for Apple, was charged last year with trading on inside information about the company’s revenue and earnings dating back to 2011. He asked U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark last month to throw out the indictment against him, arguing that the prosecution is unconstitutional because no specific criminal law bars such conduct.

“The definition of insider trading is wholly judge-made: Every element of the crime and the scope of regulated individuals subject to it was divined by judges, not elected legislators,” Levoff’s lawyer Kevin Marino said in an April filing. “This alone renders the criminal prosecution of insider trading unconstitutional.”

But prosecutors said in their own filing on Friday that the Supreme Court has held for decades that a corporate insider who trades on material nonpublic information violates federal securities laws. They said the allegations in the indictment against Levoff constituted “insider trading at its most basic” and called Levoff’s conduct particularly “flagrant” given his position as as senior lawyer responsible for Apple’s compliance with securities laws.

“In response, Levoff launches a Hail Mary pass, arguing that this court should dismiss the indictment because, according to him, the criminalization of insider trading is unconstitutional,” prosecutors said. “He is wrong, and his motion should be denied.”

Marino could not immediately be reached for comment on the government’s filing.

Levoff’s insider trading garnered him about $227,000 in profits, while allowing him to avoid $377,000 of losses, according to prosecutors. A Stanford Law grad who joined Apple in 2008, Levoff was fired from the company in September 2018.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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