Ex-Microsoft financial manager jailed for insider trading

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A former Microsoft manager has received a two year prison sentence after pleading guilty to insider trading whilst at the company.

Brian Jorgenson, who held a senior position at the IT giant’s Washington office, admitted to recruiting a co-worker at an asset management company to make trades on his behalf, allowing him to profit from the movement of Microsoft stock as well as the stock of connected companies. In particular, Jorgenson was able to trade on insider information in order to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit from Microsoft’s investment in Barnes and Noble, its failure to meet earnings estimates in the fourth quarter of 2013 and its increased first quarter earnings in 2014. He paid his accomplice, Sean Stokke, in envelopes of cash containing $10,000 apiece to avoid a paper trail. Stokke also received an 18 month prison sentence.

Jorgen told the court: “I cheated. I tried to take a shortcut for my own financial gain…. I persuaded myself it was a grey area, when it clearly was black and white.”

Motivated by greed, this defendant traded on his employer’s confidential information to line his own pocket,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “Western Washington abounds in publicly traded companies with thousands of insiders who have daily access to market moving information.  The sentence in this case should serve as a warning to others who might be tempted to engage in this conduct.”

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