Beware of friendly tips…ask Martha Steward

Samuel Waksel started a company called as Imclone in 1984. Imclone developed an anticancer drug called Erbitux. Successful clinical trials of this drug resulted in pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb buying a large stake in the Imclone in return for the rights to the drug. Due to this share price of Imclone went up. Later FDA rejected it as it was not convinced with the findings of clinical trials. This was bad news of Imclone, because announcement would result in steep fall in share price.

Martha Steward was a successful businesswoman, whose business empire dealt in areas of media, publishing and merchandising. In 1999, when her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc went public, Martha became billionaire. She brought some shares of Imclone.

Samuel was supposed to announce rejection of Erbitux to press on 28th December 2001, till then he was not supposed to sell his shares of Imclone or inform anyone about rejection, leaking news before announcing it to press would be treated as insider trading.

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But Samuel leaked this news his friends (which included Martha) asking them to sell of their shares before news appeared in press, as post announcement shares of Imclone were bound to crash.

This friendly tip proved costly for both Samuel and Martha. They were arrested and put in jail for insider trading.

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According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Martha avoided a loss of $45,673 by selling all 3,928 shares of her ImClone Systems stock on December 27, 2001.

For sake of just $45000, a billionaire lost her reputation and landed in jail.

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