Bonnie Hoxie, a former assistant to Walt Disney Co. corporate communications chief Zenia Mucha, admitted in court that she tried to sell confidential earnings information in a scheme with her boyfriend.
Hoxie pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and one count of wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger, according to Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.
As part of a plea agreement, Hoxie and prosecutors agreed that federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory, call for her to get four to 10 months when she is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Dec. 21.
Robert Baum, Hoxie’s lawyer, said in an interview that she remains free on a $50,000 bond and has returned to her home in Los Angeles.
Hoxie, who was employed as Mucha’s secretary from March through May 25, admitted to passing information about Disney’s quarterly earnings to her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, who planned to sell the information to investors.
In August, Sebbag pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. Sentencing guidelines call for Sebbag to get 27 to 33 months in prison, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cott said in August.
Sebbag, a Moroccan citizen who faces deportation, has been jailed since his arrest. Sebbag also agreed to forfeit the $15,000 he earned in the scheme.
Prosecutors said Sebbag sent letters to at least 33 investment companies, including hedge funds, offering to sell confidential earnings information about Burbank, California- based Disney.
“Hi, I have access to DISNEY’S (DIS) quarterly earnings report before its release on 05/03/10,” one of the letters said, according to prosecutors. “I am willing to share this information for a fee that we can determine later. I am sorry but I can’t disclose my identity for confidentiality reasons but we can correspond by e-mail if you would like to discuss it.”
Hoxie and Sebbag gave undercover FBI agents posing as hedge fund traders an internal Disney “talking points” document that company officials planned to use during its upcoming earnings presentation, according to prosecutors. They later passed along Disney’s earnings per share for the quarter.
On May 14, Sebbag met with two undercover agents on Long Island, New York, where he took $15,000 in cash for the information, prosecutors said.
Disney has said it cooperated with prosecutors.
The case is U.S. v. Hoxie, 10-mag-01113, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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