Two local stockbrokers, Chad Wiegand and Akis Eracleous, pleaded guilty in federal court today (June 9) to insider trading in the stock of San Diego–based biotech Ardea Biosciences, now a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based pharmaceutical AstraZeneca.
The brokers worked for National Planning Corporation, a brokerage that is part of National Planning Holdings, which in turn is affiliated with Jackson National Life Insurance Company.
As detailed by the U.S. attorney's office, Wiegand got inside information on Ardea from his brother-in-law, who oversaw Ardea's computer operations. The brother-in-law is identified as a co-conspirator, but not by name. Wiegand got inside information that AstraZeneca was going to buy Ardea; he traded on that inside information for himself and his customers. Ardea stock zoomed 51.7 percent the day of the announcement.
Wiegand provided the inside information to Eracleous, who traded on it and shared the secrets with others who paid some of their profits back to Eracleous. All told, profits on the illegal insider trading were "hundreds of thousands of dollars," according to the U.S. attorney's office.
In their plea agreement, Wiegand and Eracleous admitted trading on inside information on Ardea on other occasions between 2009 and 2012.