A decade ago, Roger Parker told two of his closest friends that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was about to buy a 35 percent share in his Denver-based company, Delta Petroleum Corp. Five years later, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an insider trading charge against Parker, alleging that the tip he provided generated more than $890,000 in illicit profits.
One of Parker’s friends, Michael Van Gilder, pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge of illegal insider trading, while the other friend, Scott Reiman, settled with the SEC, giving back more than $800,000 without admitting or denying guilt.
But Parker, who was CEO of Delta Petroleum at the time, faced a civil complaint filed against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission and spent the last five years fighting the charges. Thanks to the excellent work of his attorneys, Pamela Mackey and Saskia Jordan, partners at Haddon, Morgan and Foreman P.C. in Denver, he was acquitted in a recent federal jury trial.
The two-week trial in U.S. District Court occurred after an initial trial that ended with a hung jury. Van Gilder testified that he did not scheme with Parker to earn a profit and Reiman invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Throughout the trial, Mackey and Jordan argued that although Parker had passed along confidential information to his two friends, he did not profit from the tipping. “They kept the information secret from Mr. Parker,” said Mackey in her closing argument. “He had no information about any trading until the FBI showed up in 2012.”
That argument was crucial to the successful conclusion of Parker’s case, since the SEC needed to prove that Parker expected his friends to act on the tip, and that he personally profited from the scheme. In fact, Parker testified that Van Gilder and Reiman betrayed his professional relationships with them as well as their friendship by profiting from the conversation.
Both Mackey and Jordan are experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers who have handled a number of high-profile cases. For instance, Mackey represented Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant when he was charged with sexual assault.
Jordan has represented defendants charged with white-collar crimes, SEC violations and sexual assaults; plaintiffs and defendants in civil fraud trials; and professionals in regulatory actions and civil trials.
Because so many SEC cases end in settlement, it is encouraging to see yet another case won at trial, especially by two amazing women defenders. More and more civil enforcement actions need to be tested in the court system. As I have said before, anyone can champion a winning theory in a conference room. It is entirely different to test that theory in a courtroom. Congrats to Pamela and Saskia!