Insider Trading At Penn National Gaming Involving Sports Betting, Feds Say

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The Securities and Exchange Commission on June 13 announced insider trading charges against a person at Penn National Gaming.

David Roda, a former software engineer at Penn National Gaming’s subsidiary Penn Interactive Ventures, was charged in connection with the parent company’s $2 billion acquisition of Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming, Inc.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Philadelphia, alleges that, while employed at Penn Interactive, Roda was given confidential information about Penn National’s interest in acquiring Score Media along with admonitions not to trade on that information.

In breach of his duties, Roda purchased 500 out-of-the-money call options on Score Media in the weeks and days leading up to the announcement of the acquisition.

Additionally, Roda tipped his longtime friend, Andrew Larkin, also charged by the SEC, who then purchased 375 Score Media shares. According to the SEC’s complaint, Score Media’s stock price increased nearly 80 percent after Penn National and Score Media publicly announced their deal, following which Roda and Larkin sold their holdings for unlawful profits of $560,762 and $5,602, respectively.

“As we allege in our complaint, Roda was entrusted by his employer with critical, market-moving information, and he betrayed that trust by using the information to trade and also tip his friend so they could both profit,” said Scott Thompson, Co-Acting Regional Director of the SEC’s Philadelphia Regional Office. “When employees like Roda misappropriate and trade on confidential information, it erodes market confidence. The SEC remains committed to finding, investigating, and charging those who engage in insider trading.”

The SEC’s complaint charges Roda and Larkin, both of Philadelphia, with violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws. Roda has agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating those provisions and has agreed to pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty to be determined by the Court at a later date.

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC’s complaint, Larkin has agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating the antifraud provisions of the securities laws and to pay more than $11,000 in disgorgement and penalties. The settlements are subject to Court approval.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania today announced criminal charges against Roda.