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Chet Little Denies Insider Trading Accusations
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Walter Chet Little

Summary: Tampa-area lawyer Walter ‘Chet’ Little has a strong case of evidence against him for insider trading but insists he is innocent.

Tampa real estate and banking attorney Walter “Chet” Little was arrested and charged with insider trading. Now that he has been released on bail, he vows to fight the accusations.

  
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Little used to be a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP before moving last year to Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Tampa. He is accused of using non-public information for him and a friend to collect $1 million in illicit funds.

His lawyer Todd Foster said, “We will be pleading not guilty and contesting the charges. It is not yet known what his friend, Andrew M. Berke, plans to do.

The pair were arrested about a month ago after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused them in criminal and civil complaints of violating insider trading laws. The SEC claims that Little used his position as a partner at Foley & Lardner to gain access to the materials. Foley & Lardner spokesperson Daniel Farrell said, “Upon learning of trading activity on the part of a Foley & Lardner LLP attorney in June 2016, the firm promptly launched an internal investigation. During that review, it was determined that firm policies were violated, which led us to immediately take action. As a result, the partner is no longer at the firm. We also reported our findings to the relevant authorities and cooperated fully with them throughout the investigation. We take this matter very seriously, and we have zero tolerance for actions that violate our core values and the trust our clients place in us. We will continue to hold all of our people to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.”

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Little has also been released from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. According to managing partner Beau Grenier, “We learned that Walter ‘Chet’ Little was arrested May 11 and charged with insider trading, allegedly using access to confidential information at his former firm to illegally trade for personal gain. While we performed thorough due diligence on Mr. Little before he joined us in early July 2016, we were unaware of any investigation or other facts regarding this matter prior to his arrest. Bradley is deeply committed to upholding and exceeding the highest ethical standards and professional conduct. Mr. Little is no longer with our firm as of May 11.”

The civil complaint brought by the SEC claims that Little accessed confidential information through his firm’s internal computer network that was related to at least 11 upcoming changes for seven of the firm’s clients. The insider trading transactions allegedly took place from February 2015 to the next February. The criminal complaint extends the date through May 2016.



Little had no reason to be looking at those clients’ information as he was not billing or advising for them. However, he used the documents to make trades and then contacted his friend to share the tips. They allege that he “contacted Berke on multiple occasions and disclosed material, non-public information concerning at least four Foley clients.” Little made profits of nearly $364,000 while Berke raked in $640,651 in profit from the trades.

The clients were either delisting from the Nasdaq stock exchange, involved in mergers and acquisitions, making earnings announcements, or planning securities offerings. The clients were Whiting Petroleum Corp., Hanger Inc., Magnetek Inc., Pentair plc, Oshkosh Corp., Harley-Davidson Inc., and Douglas Dynamics Inc.

The evidence the SEC presented in their complaints include access to emails and documents for the clients over a period of time with text messages and phone calls to Berke coinciding with the timeframe.

Do you think Little will have a hard time denying all the evidence against him? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the charges, read this article:

Photo: bizjournals.com



 

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