Silicon Valley Auditor Settles Lam Merger Insider Case

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By Richard Hill

A Silicon Valley auditor agreed March 14 to pay approximately $87,000 to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations he traded on inside merger information ( In re Hedayati , S.E.C., Admin. Proc. File No. 3-17881, 3/14/17 ).

Nima Hedayati was a junior accountant at Lam Research Corp.'s outside auditor, the SEC said. He allegedly learned through his job that Lam was planning to acquire KLA-Tencor Corp., another semiconductor company. Based on the inside information, Hedayati bought KLA stock options and encouraged his mother to buy KLA stock as well, the SEC said.

Hedayati and his mother earned more than $43,000 in unlawful profits when the merger was announced in October 2015, according to the SEC.

In settling the allegations, Hedayati, who neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing, agreed to be suspended from appearing before the SEC as an accountant for at least five years. He also agreed to disgorge $43,027 plus $1,269 in interest, and to pay a $43,027 fine. He was fired soon after the merger when his employer discovered his conduct, the SEC said.

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