If Marvel needed a comic book villain who commits fraud, Scammell would be a fitting name.
The company learned this first hand thanks to the federal securities fraud prosecutions of 29-year-old Toby G. Scammell, who pleaded guilty Monday to having made about $192,000 in profits by purchasing Marvel Entertainment Inc. stock options immediately prior to its acquisition by the Walt Disney Co. in August 2009. The San Francisco resident now faces up to 25 years in federal prison.
Scammell learned in the summer of 2009 from his girlfriend, who worked in connection with Disney's deal to acquire Marvel, that Disney planned to acquire another company "that people would recognize right away," according to a statement from the FBI.
He later discovered from a supervisor at his then-employer–which had periodically provided corporate consulting services to Disney and had confidentiality obligations to the company–that Disney had previously been interested in acquiring Marvel. Scammell further learned the planned acquisition was estimated to close by Labor Day 2009.
He would use the information to acquire 659 call options to purchase Marvel stock for $5,465, half of which he purchased in his brother's account without his bro or girlfriend knowing about it. You know where this is going: Marvel's stock rose around 25 percent after the deal with Disney was announced on Aug. 31, 2009, and Scammell immediately sold his options, realizing more than $192,000 in profits.
"Scammell transferred $100,000 of the profits out of his brother's account to conceal the trading and profits from his brother," reads the FBI release, which notes he was charged with securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2011 and later ordered to disgorge his trading profits and pay civil penalties and interest totaling $800,985.
Meanwhile, the SEC assisted the FBI in the criminal investigation that resulted in a federal grand jury indicting Scammell in October 2013 and his agreeing to a plea deal finalized Monday. U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero is scheduled to sentence Scammell on July 28.