SEC Charges North Carolina Man with Insider Trading

September 25, 2020/US SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a North Carolina-based actuary with insider trading in the securities of Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc.

According to the SEC’s complaint, on October 13, 2015, Eric M. Hill of Charlotte, North Carolina, learned confidential information concerning Piedmont’s potential merger with Duke Energy Corporation from a friend and former colleague, who at the time was providing actuarial consulting services to Piedmont. As alleged in the complaint, Hill began purchasing Piedmont call options within an hour after learning this information and Hill continued to purchase Piedmont options and stock throughout the following week. The complaint further alleges that Hill sold these options and stock as soon as the merger was publicly announced on October 26, 2015, deriving more than $380,000 in profits from his unlawful trading.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina today announced criminal charges against Hill.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, charges Hill with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC seeks injunctive relief and a civil penalty.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Han Nguyen of the Market Abuse Unit and Scott A. Thompson of the Philadelphia Regional Office, with assistance from John Rymas in the Market Abuse Unit’s Analysis and Detection Center. The investigation was supervised by Joseph G. Sansone, Chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Michael Macko and Jennifer Chun Barry.

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