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Former e-commerce exec gets 15 months prison in eBay insider trading case
October 1, 2014 / 8:28 PM / 3 years ago

Former e-commerce exec gets 15 months prison in eBay insider trading case

Oct 1 (Reuters) - A former executive at GSI Commerce Inc was sentenced on Wednesday to 15 months in prison for insider trading related to the 2011 takeover of the e-commerce company by online retailer eBay Inc.

Christopher Saridakis, who had led GSI's marketing solutions division, was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzel in Philadelphia to pay a $10,000 fine, according to court records.

Saridakis, 45, previously pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud for leaking material nonpublic information in March 2011 about the planned merger.

GSI shares rose nearly 51 percent on March 28, 2011, after eBay announced its $1.96 billion purchase of the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based company.

Prosecutors said that days before the merger was announced, Saridakis texted a former business associate and friend to buy GSIC stock "soon."

The tip enabled the friend, who became a cooperating witness, to make $260,304 in profits, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not name the friend, but a related civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission identified him as Jules Gardner, who had founded a mobile marketing company where he once worked with Saridakis.

Prosecutors in court papers sought a sentence of more than three years in prison. Saridakis's lawyers urged the court to sentence him to probation.

"Mr. Saridakis has accepted responsibility for his offense," said Richard Zack, his lawyer. "He has resolved all matters with the government and wishes to move forward with his life."

Saridakis, of Greenville, Delaware, previously had agreed in April to pay $664,822 to settle with the SEC, while Gardner agreed to pay $259,054.

The cases are U.S. v. Saridakis, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 14-cr-00210; and SEC v. Saridakis et al in the same court, No. 14-02397. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

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