The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a news release it has charged Brian D. Jorgenson of Lynwood, Wash., and his friend and business partner, Sean T. Stokke of Seattle.
Investigators said Jorgenson used his position as a senior corporate finance and investments executive to acquire confidential company information and pass it on to Stokke. The two allegedly made joint trading decisions and shared illicit profits, planning to amass enough money to set up their own hedge fund.
In addition to the SEC charges, Jorgenson and Stokke have been criminally charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.
A SEC complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington alleges Jorgenson and Stokke reaped $393,125 in illicit profits beginning in April 2012.
Stokke allegedly began trading on insider information ahead of Microsoft's public announcement it intended to invest $300 million in Barnes & Noble's e-reader business, the SEC said, using a tip from Jorgenson to acquire about $14,000 worth of call options on Barnes & Noble common stock. The suspects allegedly made nearly $185,000 when Barnes & Noble stock rose more than 51 percent after Microsoft publicly announced its plan.
In all, the SEC alleges Jorgenson and Stokke engaged in illegal insider trading again in July and October of this year.