A former Amazon financial analyst was sentenced to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine for leaking confidential financial information about quarterly earnings to a former fraternity brother.
Brett Kennedy of Blaine, Wash. was sentenced in U.S. District Court of Western Washington Friday after he pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in September. At a sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez told Kennedy he had committed a “serious offense.”
“If the public cannot have confidence in the financial markets it impacts the entire country,” Martinez said.
Kennedy passed along information on first quarter 2015 earnings figures before they became public to Maziar Rezakhani, the fraternity brother. Rezakhani turned around and bought 4,400 shares of Amazon stock for $1.7 million. After the earnings report went public, he sold the stock for a $116,000 profit. Rezakhani “predicted” Amazon’s first quarter revenue of $22.7 billion and losses per share of 12 cents on two trading-related forums, writing that the “numbers are so obvious” that a “5 year old can guess what they will do.”
Rezakhani paid Kennedy $10,000 for the inside information.
Kennedy apologized to Amazon, according to a press release from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and to his family at the sentencing hearing.
“I threw my success away in an instant … I wish every day I could go back and not be so stupid and reckless.”