A former Amazon financial analyst allegedly leaked the company’s earnings results to a former fraternity brother in exchange for $10,000, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday.
The agency charged Brett Kennedy and Maziar Rezakhani with insider trading. It alleges Kennedy gave Rezakhani Amazon’s 2015 first-quarter earnings information while Kennedy was an employee at the company. Rezakhani supposedly paid Kennedy $10,000 in cash for the results and made more than $116,000 in illegal profits from the results, the SEC said.
Rezakhani also allegedly shared the money with Sam Sadeghi, who advised him on the trades. Sadeghi supposedly met with Rezakhani and Kennedy to discuss the results. The SEC said Rezakhani and Sadeghi wanted to establish a successful track record under Sadeghi’s brokerage account and eventually start a hedge fund together.
Rezakhani predicted Amazon’s earnings and bragged on at least two trading-related internet communication platforms that “the numbers are so obvious” that a “5-year old can guess what they will do,” according to the SEC.
“As alleged in our complaint, Rezakhani boasted on social media that he could accurately predict Amazon’s financial performance,” Jina L. Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office, said in a statement. “But he failed to predict that we would catch him and his accomplices in their illegal scheme.”
Sadeghi and Kennedy have agreed to settlements without admitting or denying allegations. Both agreements require court approval. Sadeghi has agreed to pay $24,214.87, and Kennedy has agreed to pay $10,875.36, according to the SEC.
Separately, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington announced criminal charges against Kennedy on Thursday.
Amazon declined to comment.