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Guilty! Four go down for insider trading

Profited from IBM Lotus takeover

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Four investors accused of together making almost $120,000 trading on inside information on IBM's acquisition of Lotus have been judged guilty as charged.

The prosecution, acting for the US Securities and Exchange Commission, alleged the four - James Ribellino Jr., Ralph Serpe, Gerald Wells and Claudio Spinelli - were tipped off by the husband of an IBM secretary across whose desk passed a copy of Big Blue's takeover of Lotus.

That acquisition took place in 1995.

The husband, a financial analyst, was said to have passed the IBM-Lotus takeover information to three, unnamed brokers at Staten Island, New York-based broker Russo Securities, but they were declared not guilty of insider trading.

The three who were so judged will be sentenced later, but they face very hefty fines, a period in gaol and the repayment of their ill-gotten gains. Spinelli made $36,656 from Lotus options bought just before the IBM deal was announced. Ribellino, Serpe and Wells together made $82,875 in a single day. ®

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