Dis­ney worker pleads guilty

For­mer em­ployee Bon­nie Hoxie ad­mits try­ing to sell in­sider data to in­vestors.

Los Angeles Times - - Company Town - Dawn C. Ch­mielewski dawn.ch­mielewski@latimes.com

A for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant to a top ex­ec­u­tive at Walt Dis­ney Co. pleaded guilty Tues­day to fraud charges re­lated to her par­tic­i­pa­tion in an in­sider-trad­ing scheme.

Bon­nie J. Hoxie, 34, of Los An­ge­les ad­mit­ted in fed­eral district court in New York to at­tempt­ing to sell con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion that she gained ac­cess to as an as­sis­tant for Dis­ney’s head of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ze­nia Mucha.

Ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Hoxie ob­tained ma­te­rial, non­pub­lic in­for­ma­tion about Dis­ney, in­clud­ing ad­vance de­tails about its sec­ond-quar­ter earn­ings. She shared the in­for­ma­tion with her boyfriend, Yonni Seb­bag, for the pur­pose of sell­ing it to in­vestors be­fore the com­pany’s earn­ings call.

Seb­bag sent letters to hedge funds and other in­vest­ment com­pa­nies, of­fer­ing to sell the in­for­ma­tion for pur­poses of in­sider trad­ing.

Three days in ad­vance of the May 11 earn­ings call, Hoxie sent a con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ment that con­tained a col­lec­tion of talk­ing points that Dis­ney’s ex­ec­u­tives would re­fer to while an­swer­ing an­a­lysts’ ques­tions, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Roughly two hours in ad­vance of the pub­lic an­nounce­ment, she re­vealed by e-mail that the com­pany’s earn­ings per share would be 48 cents, bet­ter than an­a­lysts had pre­dicted.

Hoxie pleaded guilty to one count of con­spir­acy to com­mit se­cu­ri­ties fraud and one count of wire fraud and faces of up to 25 years in prison and a max­i­mum fine of $250,000, or twice the amount she gained from the of­fense. Hoxie will be sen­tenced Dec. 21. Her lawyer, Robert M. Baum, could not be reached for com­ment.

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