The man made over $1.4 million selling Amazon shares using proprietary data during ‘blackout’ times
Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said today that a 37-year-old Bothell, Washington man was sentenced to 26 months in prison for securities fraud due to his insider trading activity in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Viky Bohra pleaded guilty in November 2020, acknowledging that between 2016 and 2018, he profited $1,428,264 by trading Amazon shares using Amazon insider information obtained from his wife, an Amazon finance employee.
“I firmly believe white collar crime deserves equal treatment to what we call street crime,” said U.S. District Judge James L. Robart at the sentencing hearing, noting that Bohra had made his wife and father into criminals.
“This defendant and his wife were earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and bonuses from their jobs in tech – but he was not content with that – greedily scheming to illegally profit by trading Amazon stock,” stated U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. “This case should stand as a warning to those who try to game the markets with insider trading: there is a heavy price to pay with a felony conviction and prison sentence.”
According to court documents, Bohra’s wife had access to private information about Amazon’s earnings and spending. Bohra and his wife were subjected to blackout periods during which no Amazon stock could be traded as a result of their work.
Bohra’s wife was informed of insider trading policies making it plain the responsibility to safeguard personal financial information. Despite those warnings, Bohra got his wife’s sensitive information and traded in Amazon shares and options in accounts belonging to him and his father.
The trades were made during blackout periods, and from 2016 to 2018, he relied on information from his wife to make profitable trades ahead of Amazon earnings announcements.
“Mr. Bohra knew exactly what he was doing and was driven solely by greed,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Office Donald M. Voiret. “With his nearly unlimited access and knowledge of securities trading, he undermined public trust in our financial markets.”
Prosecutors wrote to the court, requesting a 33-month term, over two and a half years, Bohra, using information provided by his wife, made over $1.4 million by making illegal stock and options trades. Bohra’s conduct was not an isolated incident, limited to trading before one Amazon earning’s statement. Rather, Bohra engaged in illegal insider trading in advance of 11 straight earnings announcements.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Bohra with civil insider trading on September 28, 2020. Disgorgement, interest, and penalties totaled $2,652,899 for him and his family. The United States is not seeking forfeiture in this case based on these payments.
Bohra’s wife will not face criminal prosecution as part of the plea agreement. Bohra’s wife no longer works for Amazon.
The FBI looked into the situation.
Assistant United States Attorney Justin Arnold prosecuted the case.