Wowza. Folks out at Disney’s HQ in Burbank, Calif., are probably doing a bit of glassy-eyed headshaking on Wednesday, in wake of a criminal complaint filed a few hours ago.
The complaint, filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, has alleged that a former administrative assistant to Disney’s head of communications and her boyfriend tried to sell advance access to the company’s second-quarter earnings reports. Click here
for the WSJ story; here
for the criminal complaint.
Bonnie Hoxie, 33, and her boyfriend Yonni Sebbag, 29, have been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the wire fraud charge.
A lawyer for Hoxie did not immediately return a call from the WSJ seeking comment. Sebbag is expected to be represented by a court-appointed attorney.
Hoxie had worked as an assistant to Zenia Mucha, Disney’s head of corporate communication. She had been with the company since 2007.
Mucha didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday. A Disney spokesman didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.
Sebbag and Hoxie were arrested by FBI agents in Los Angeles Wednesday and are expected to appear in federal court there later Wednesday.
In the criminal complaint, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan alleged Hoxie and Sebbag sent anonymous letters to hedge funds and investment companies in New York in March, seeking to sell inside information about Disney.
The letter offered to share information about the company’s second-quarter earnings report before its release in May and asked interested persons to contact a gmail account, according to the complaint.
Undercover FBI agents contacted the email, posing as hedge fund traders, prosecutors said. On May 8, Sebbag and Hoxie allegedly sent confidential talking points on the company’s second-quarter earnings to the FBI agents — three days before the company’s earnings were to be announced.
In a March 15 email, Hoxie and Sebbag allegedly shared information that Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger was in “serious and advanced negotiations with two private equity firms” to sell ABC, but no price had been determined.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Disney said it was fully cooperating with the investigations and that the reference to the complaint to conversations regarding ABC “were and are false.”