Wiretap: The Apple secrets that Walter Shimoon soldJuly 6, 2011: 5:57 AM ET
The insider trader who pled guilty Tuesday leaked details about the iPhone 4 and the iPad
The wiretap caught it all.
Walter Shimoon, then a director at Flextronics (FLEX), a Singapore-based company that supplies Apple (AAPL) with camera and battery components, was being paid up to $200 per hour to leak insider information to a shadowy group of hedge funds and so-called expert networks.
In an Oct. 1, 2009 phone call secretly taped by the FBI, he gave his contact at a New York-based hedge fund called Kingdom Ridge Capital some third quarter iPhone sales figures that wouldn't be released for another two and a half weeks.
Then, according to his indictment, he dropped two bombshells:
- The iPhone 4: Apple, he told his contact, was "coming out next year" with a new iPhone that's "gonna have two cameras ... It'll be a neat phone because it's gonna have a five-megapixel auto-focus camera and it will have a VGA forward-facing videoconferencing camera." Apple announced the iPhone 4 -- with its two cameras -- eight months later.
- The iPad: "They [Apple] have a code name for something new ... It's ... It's totally ... It's a new category altogether... It doesn't have a camera, what I figured out. So I speculated that it's probably a reader. ... Something like that. Um, let me tell you, it's a very secretive program ... It's called K, K48. That's the internal name. So, you can get, at Apple you can get fired for saying K48." The iPad -- code named K48 -- was unveiled four months later.
According to Reuters, court documents unsealed Tuesday showed Kingdom Ridge making $560,000 in profits in October 2009 trading on secrets provided by Walter Shimoon.
Shimoon, 39, pled guilty Tuesday to two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud and one count of securities fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for July 8, 2013. He faces up to 30 years in prison.
By Electronista's count, he's the 13th of 14 charged with insider trading in what Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has described as "a corrupt network of insiders" serving as consultants "who sold out their employers by stealing and then peddling their valuable inside information."