Ex-FBI Trainee Sentenced to 15 Months for $1.4M Insider Trading Scheme


(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Former FBI trainee Seth Markin was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment Wednesday for participating in a $1.4 million insider trading scheme.

Markin’s sentenced was announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which prosecuted the case. Markin was arrested in July 2022 and pled guilty to securities fraud based on insider trading on Dec. 4.

According to Justice Department prosecutors, Markin, who had been accepted into the FBI as a new agent-trainee, stole insider information on a company named Pandion Therapeutics from his then-girlfriend, who worked for a major law firm.

“In February 2021, MARKIN secretly looked through the Law Firm Associate’s confidential work documents, without her permission, and learned that, in a matter of weeks, Merck, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, was going to acquire Pandion, a publicly traded biotechnology company, for approximately three times the value of Pandion’s share price,” the DOJ said in a press release.

“MARKIN immediately purchased Pandion stock on the basis of this material, non-public information and also told several family members and friends to purchase Pandion’s stock.”

In total, Markin and an associate named Brandon Wong together caused at least 20 people to trade in Pandion stock based on the material, non-public information misappropriated from the girlfriend, resulting in millions of dollars of illegally obtained trading profits, according to the DOJ.

Markin was reportedly caught while at the FBI Academy in Quantico, where his then-girlfriend called to ask why his named had come up in an inquiry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority into trading in Pandion stock. Markin allegedly lied, saying he didn’t trade the stock.

Markin also lied to his own employer, the FBI, telling agents a fake cover story that he learned about Pandion on StockTwits, that he purchased the stock because of a recent earnings report and a new board member addition, and that he did not know that his former girlfriend worked on the Pandion transaction.

Commenting on the 15-month sentence, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams lamented Markin’s downfall.

“Instead of investigating crimes, he’ll now spend time in prison,” he said. “Today’s sentence should serve as a stark reminder that, no matter who you are, if you try to cheat the system by stealing and trading based on material, non-public information, you will be punished.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.