December 4, 2012 / 10:03 PM / 5 years ago

FBI arrests ex-Rochdale trader who imperiled firm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The FBI on Tuesday arrested David Miller, a former Rochdale Securities trader whose outsized, unauthorized purchases of Apple stock in October nearly sank his firm.

U.S. prosecutors in Connecticut charged Miller with wire fraud, alleging he lied about his trading of Apple (AAPL.O) shares ahead of the tech giant’s October 25 earnings announcement.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court on Monday, Miller bought Apple shares for himself and then reported to Rochdale the trade was for a customer who would bear the risk if it lost money.

Miller would have been able to walk away with a profit for himself had Apple’s share price risen, but it fell. As a result, Rochdale was left unexpectedly owning more than a million and a half shares of Apple and had to sell them for a $5 million loss.

According to the complaint, Miller also pretended to be a representative of a client’s firm and told another broker-dealer to sell Apple shares, supposedly on behalf of the firm.

Miller’s lawyer, Kenneth Murphy of Simon & Partners, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the time, Miller told his superiors the purchases had been a fat finger error. Prosecutors, however, called it a “get-rich-quick scheme.”

    After the incident, Rochdale, a small Stamford-based brokerage that is home to the outspoken bank stock analyst Dick Bove, reached out to competitors for a potential life-saving investment, according to media reports.

    Rochdale President Daniel Crowley could not immediately be reached for comment. The firm’s main reception line at its Stamford headquarters rang unanswered just after 4 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Tuesday.

    The case is USA v. David Miller, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut.

    Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Steve Orlofsky

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