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An Inside (Trading) Job: Criminal Forfeiture Order Cancels out SEC Disgorgement in Insider Trading Case

In October of 2018, a federal jury found Harold Altvater guilty of insider trading charges after he dumped shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals in advance of a negative FDA announcement about one of Ariad’s drugs. Altvater’s ex-wife, Maureen Curran, was the former senior drug safety executive at Ariad Pharmaceuticals between October 2013 and January 2014, when it is alleged that Curran told Altvater that the FDA had expressed safety concerns about Ariad’s leukemia drug Iclusig. 

The SEC filed an action in 2017, alleging that Altvater profited by more than $100,000 by selling his shares in advance of the FDA’s announcement regarding Iclusig. In Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton’s July 22, 2020 Final Judgment against Altvater in the SEC case, Judge Gorton found Altvater liable for disgorgement in the amount of $112,569. Interestingly, however, Judge Gorton found that the disgorgement ordered was “deemed satisfied” by the criminal forfeiture order for $115,657 entered against Altvater in January 2019.

Although a court’s finding that a criminal forfeiture order satisfies a later SEC disgorgement order is not novel, see SEC v. Little, No. 1:17-CV-03536 (S.D.N.Y., 2019), this case signals an increasing trend that judges are willing to permit criminal forfeitures to satisfy later administrative penalties, such as SEC disgorgement orders.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 219


About this Author

Paul Roshka, Polsinelli, financial securities lawyer

Known for his thorough preparation and persistence, Paul Roshka has a national practice representing companies, their directors, officers, and employees during investigations and enforcement/disciplinary proceedings involving potential violations of the federal and state securities laws, and other financial regulatory statutes and rules. He has handled matters initiated by almost every SEC Regional Office and FINRA District Office, and their Home Offices in Washington, D.C.

He is also a recognized bet-the-company litigator. Paul has defended securities/financial...

T.J. Mitchell Commercial Litigation Lawyer Polsinelli Law Firm

Thomas (T.J.) Mitchell is an associate in the Commercial Litigation practice group. T.J. partners with Polsinelli’s seasoned attorneys to provide litigation solutions in complex financial and business disputes, manage clients’ risk, and allow clients to focus on driving their business or personal objectives. Drawing from his experience working in the legal department of a large technology company, T.J. understands what clients expect from their outside counsel or personal attorney and takes the time to understand their unique challenges, goals, and values. These priorities shape his work from the first client meeting through pre-litigation negotiations, preparing lawsuit or arbitration pleadings and briefs, conducting discovery, and resolving disputes either through settlement or trial.