Ex-SAP Executive, Two Others Indicted in U.S. for Insider Trading

October 21, 2016, 10:59 PM UTC

A former SAP SE executive and two Indiana car wash owners have been indicted on charges that they engaged in an insider trading scheme that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits.

Christopher Salis, a former global vice president at the software company’s SAP America (SAP) unit, was charged along with brothers Douglas Miller and Edward Miller in an indictment filed in federal court in Hammond, Indiana made public on Thursday.

The criminal charges followed a civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June against the trio and a fourth man over trades the regulator said were placed ahead of SAP’s acquisition of Concur Technologies in 2014.

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Salis, who was representing himself in the SEC lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Thomas Kirsch, a lawyer for the Millers, said his clients will plead not guilty and deny the charges.

“They did not engage in any insider trading or commit any crimes at all,” Kirsch said. “The allegations are meritless, and the Millers look forward to fighting these allegations in court and to a full acquittal.”

Prosecutors said while employed at SAP in Palo Alto, California, Salis, 39, before the Concur deal was announced tipped his friend Douglas Miller of Dyer, Indiana, off to information about the acquisition so Miller could make trades.

Insider Trading Is More Common Than You Think

Douglas Miller, 40, in turn told his brother, Edward Miller, who co-owned a car wash with him, and also recruited his parents into the scheme by offering to share in any proceeds from the trading, the indictment said.

Douglas Miller also recruited two unnamed sales managers at a national energy drink company into the scheme, directing them to open brokerage accounts, which Miller then accessed to buy call options in Concur, the indictment said.

By trading ahead of the acquisition’s announcement, Douglas Miller made about $119,000 and Edward Miller, 43, made about $149,000, prosecutors said. Other traders who used the information made $237,000, prosecutors said.

Why Insider Trading May Be Tougher Than Ever to Prosecute

In return, Salis received nearly $90,000 from his co-conspirators, prosecutors said, with the Millers taking steps to conceal their payments to avoid suspicion.

The defendants face multiple charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to structure currency transactions.

SAP has previously said it cooperated in the investigation.

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