Two San Jose men pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco this week, admitting to a securities fraud scheme that netted one of the men nearly $1 million.
Benjamin Wylam, a 42-year-old Santa Clara High School biology teacher, , and Nathaniel Brown, 49, signed separate plea agreements that
admitted their guilt to a charge of securities fraud. Each faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison—plus either $250,000 in fines or an amount up to twice their gross gains—at sentencing hearings in September.
The two were also charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a case that included four other people.
According to news releases issued July 15 by the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds and the SEC, Brown was employed as a senior revenue manager at Infinera Corporation, and "during Brown’s employment at Infinera, he was regularly privy to material nonpublic information about Infinera’s financial performance and financial projections." According to the press release, Brown shared private information with his friend Wylam, a teacher. Infinera Corp. moved its corporate headquarters from Sunnyvale to San Jose in 2020.
Wylam admitted that between April 2016 and November 2017, he received information from Brown and made transactions in Infinera securities to make a profit of $999,959.
The men tried to conceal their actions, an effort that included Wylam unfriending Brown on Facebook, prosecutors said.
The two men also faced civil charges by the SEC in a case that included four others, Naveen Sood, Marcus Bannon, Matthew Rauch and Naresh Ramaiya. Wylam was accused of sharing the insider information with Sood, who in turn shared it with the three other men named in the case.
In the SEC case, Bannon, Rauch and Ramaiya consented to the final judgments without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint.
Bannon agreed to pay a civil penalty of $281,497, Rauch agreed to pay a civil penalty of $128,230, and Ramaiya agreed to pay a civil penalty of $65,780. Sood also consented to the entry of a final judgment and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $178,320.