Following an Insider Trading investigation, Denise Grevas, 60, of Evanston, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, admitting Thursday, October 21, 2021 that she used insider information obtained from her husband to purchase shares of a company (Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Inc.) ahead of its acquisition by her husband’s employer (H. Lundbeck A/S). The charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber set sentencing for February 23, 2022.
The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed a civil enforcement action against Grevas, provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared Hasten and Jason Yonan represent the government in the criminal case.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Grevas learned material, non-public information about the planned tender offer during a telephone call with her spouse, who was a member of Lundbeck’s due diligence team for the Alder tender offer, in August 2019. According to the complaint, after the call, and unbeknownst to her huspand, Grevas purchased 30,800 shares of Alder stock in five brokerage accounts under her control, trading nearly every trading day until Lundbeck’s announcement. According to the SEC’s complaint, after Lundbeck announced the tender offer on September 16, 2019, Alder’s share price increased 84% from its prior day’s closing price, and Grevas obtained gains of $286,960.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Illinois, charges Grevas with violating the antifraud provisions of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder. Grevas agreed to be permanently enjoined from violations of these provisions, and to pay a civil penalty in an amount to be determined by the court at a later date. This settlement is subject to Court approval.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced criminal charges against Grevas, who pleaded guilty to the charges.
Grevas admitted in a plea agreement that in 2019 she made the $286,960 in illegal profits from the purchase and sale of securities in a Washington state-based pharmaceutical company, which was a target for acquisition and later acquired by an overseas-based pharmaceutical company that had an office in Deerfield, Illinois., and employed Grevas’s husband. Grevas used material, non-public information about the expected acquisition to purchase shares in the Washington company ahead of a public announcement of the acquisition on September 16, 2019. After the announcement, the Washington company’s stock price increased and Grevas sold her shares for the profit, the plea agreement states.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Richard G. Stoltz and Rebecca Hollenbeck and supervised by Anne C. McKinley and Daniel J. Hayes of the Chicago Regional Office with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
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