Former Merck Analyst Gets Three Years for Insider Trading

  • Ex-analyst admitted giving tip to ex-classmate at BNY Mellon
  • Defendant says he was paid $57,000 by friend for the tip

A former Merck & Co. analyst was sentenced to three years and a month in prison for passing merger tips to an ex-business school classmate who worked at Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

Zachary Zwerko, 33, pleaded guilty in February to giving inside information to the former BNY Mellon employee, who used it to earn $700,000 by buying shares in companies Merck was looking into acquiring. Zwerko said he was paid $57,000 for the tip.

"Zwerko’s attempts to circumvent the law and share inside information may have made him and his co-conspirator lots of money, but such criminal conduct has now come at the expense of his freedom,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement Tuesday.

Zwerko, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, worked as a senior analyst in Merck’s financial evaluation and analysis group from 2010 to 2014. He and his former classmate used disposable cell phones to exchange information on potential acquisitions, according to prosecutors.

Jeffrey Denner, Zwerko’s lawyer, had no immediate comment on the sentencing.

The case is U.S. v. Post, 14-CR-00715, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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