The SEC announced yesterday that it has charged a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based attorney, Matthew J. Browne, with insider trading. The SEC alleges that Browne sold all of the stock he owned in SemGroup Energy Partners, LP (SGLP), a local energy company, on the basis of confidential information that he learned while providing legal services to a client, thereby avoided losses of more than $80,000.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Browne sold all of his shares on the same day he found out that SemGroup Energy Partners’ privately-held parent company and largest customer, SemGroup LP, was experiencing liquidity issues and defaulted on a $50 million margin call. The value of SGLP stock dropped by nearly two-thirds by the end of that week after a public announcement was made by the company. Browne has agreed to pay more than twice the amount of his avoided losses to settle the SEC’s charges, without admitting or denying the allegations.