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Did Accused Bristol-Myers Exec Give Himself Away?

The first rule of insider trading: Don’t talk about insider trading—or do a lot of Internet searches about it.

One executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb apparently didn’t follow that rule of thumb, the SEC alleged Thursday.

The SEC claims Robert D. Ramnarine, an executive in the company’s treasury department who lives in East Brunswick, N.J., made more than $300,000 in illegal profits by misusing nonpublic information he obtained while helping Bristol-Myers Squibb evaluate whether to acquire three other pharmaceutical companies.

The companies are said to be ZymoGenetics, Pharmasset and Amylin Pharmaceuticals .

According to the SEC, Ramnarine—who was arrested by FBI agents Thursday—conducted Internet research from his work computer to “determine whether he could be detected by regulators.”

The SEC said Ramnarine searched for such phrases as “can stock option be traced to purchaser” and “illegal insider trading options trace” and viewed such articles as “Ways to Avoid Insider Trading.”

The SEC said he even looked at a press release about illegal trading in call options.

Now Ramnarine has a press release of his own. You can read it here.

“Ramnarine tried to educate himself about how the SEC investigates insider trading so he could avoid detection, but apparently he ignored countless successful SEC enforcement actions against similarly ill-motivated individuals who paid a heavy price for their illegal trading,” said Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit in today’s press release.

“Executives at pharmaceutical companies or in any industry should know better than to abuse confidential, market-moving information," Hawke added, "and our charges against Ramnarine should serve notice that when you violate insider trading laws, no matter how you scheme, you will be caught.”

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