SEC Settles Multi-Tiered Insider Trading Case Against Convicted Fraudster, His Friend and Tippee, and a Former IIIumina Accountant

On April 11, 2023, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a final judgment against Donald G. Blakstad, a self-employed individual from San Diego. On November 21, 2022, the Court entered final judgments against Robert J. Maron, a personal friend of Blakstad, and Martha Patricia Bustos, a former accountant at Illumina, Inc. and close friend of Blakstad.

According to the SEC’s amended complaint, Bustos tipped Blakstad material, nonpublic information concerning at least four different Illumina quarterly performance announcements. Blakstad enlisted two individuals to trade on his behalf ahead of two of the announcements, and also tipped Maron and at least three other individuals, each of whom traded in advance of at least one of the announcements. After receiving the tip, Maron purchased out-of-the-money, near-expiration Illumina put option contracts in an account owned by his friend Joubin Torkan, which generated $900,000 in unlawful profits for Maron and $113,833 for Torkan. Torkan previously settled the SEC’s relief defendant claims against him, agreeing to disgorge $113,833 and to pay prejudgment interest of $8,606, which the Court approved on September 29, 2021.

Source: Blakstad, et al. (Release No. LR-25696; Apr. 18, 2023)