A former executive vice president at Qualcomm was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison and fined US$500,000 on charges related to a three-year-long insider trading scheme.
Jing Wang, 52, of Del Mar, California, also had served as president of global business operations at Qualcomm, where he worked for more than a decade. He pleaded guilty last July to insider trading, money laundering and obstruction of justice for "orchestrating" a scheme to trade confidential information about the mobile technology vendor and cover up the conduct, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.
Wang was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
In his plea, Wang acknowledged he made three insider trades using a brokerage account in the name of his British Virgin Island shell company, Unicorn Global Enterprises, the DOJ said.
In early 2010, before Qualcomm announced a dividend increase and stock repurchase, Wang bought company stock valued at approximately $277,000. Then, in December 2010, hours after Qualcomm's board of directors approved a non-public offer to purchase wireless semiconductor developer Atheros, Wang purchased stock in the company.
Just a few weeks later, he directed his stockbroker, former Merrill Lynch employee Gary Yin, to sell the Atheros stock, for approximately $481,000, and purchase Qualcomm stock one day before the company announced record earnings, the DOJ said.
Wang also pleaded guilty to money laundering for transferring the illegal proceeds from Unicorn's account to an account of a new shell company he controlled. He acknowledged obstructing justice by creating a false cover story to blame his brother Bing Wang, who resides in rural China, for the insider trading and ownership of the Unicorn account.
Yin pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice and launder money and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17. Bing Wang has been charged in connection with the scheme, and is wanted on an international arrest warrant.
Qualcomm didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the sentencing. Wang's lawyer also didn't immediately respond.
Three other former employees of Qualcomm have pleaded guilty to charges related to insider trading in the Atheros deal.
Wang was "a powerful insider at one of the world's top corporations -- but he threw it all away to make a few hundred thousand dollars," U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California said in a statement. "While Wang has lost his power, his position and his freedom, the real losers here are investors who play by the rules, and our nation's financial system, which is diminished with every one of these schemes."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.