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Pinnacle Financial Board Member Charged With Insider Trading Pleads Guilty

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Pinnacle Financial Board Member Charged With Insider Trading Pleads Guilty

Shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners (NASDAQ: PNFP) lost 1.82 percent on Friday trading after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a former board director with insider trading.

As per the government agency, Tennessee-based lawyer James C. Cope purchased securities of Avenue Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: AVNU) before the companies announced that Pinnacle Financial would acquire Avenue Financial. Based on this nonpublic information, Cope got more than $56,000 in ill-obtained profit, the SEC alleged, charging the attorney with insider trading.

Related Link: Leon Cooperman Could Have Been Forced Out Of The Hedge Fund Industry As Part Of An SEC Settlement

According to an SEC press release, “Cope learned confidential details about the planned merger during a board executive committee meeting on Jan. 5, 2016, and proceeded to place his first order to purchase Avenue Financial stock while that executive committee meeting was still in progress. He allegedly placed four more orders within an hour after the meeting ended.”

Pinnacle’s acquisition of Avenue Financial was closed in July.

On top of the SEC charges, Cope now faces a new criminal case that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee filed on Friday.

Guilty As Charged

Also on Friday, Cope pleaded guilty to the charges of insider trading the SEC issued. The lawyer will serve probation for 24 months, being confined to his home for nine of these months. In addition, he will be fined with $55,000.

"He’s a decent and honorable man. He made a mistake in judgement and is accepting responsibility for that,” his attorney Aubrey Harwell declared.

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Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no interest in any of the securities or entities mentioned above.

 

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