Defendants with alcohol or drug issues can be sent to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, as a condition of probation in their DC, Maryland or Virginia criminal case. Yesterday, the government charged a Wall Street money manager with insider stock trading based on confidential information he picked up from a fellow participant at his A.A. meeting.
The Security & Exchange Commission has charged Timothy McGee, a former manager at Ameriprise Financial, with illegally trading on confidential information another A.A. participant revealed during their A.A. group session.
According to the SEC, an insurance executive confessed to his A.A. group about the pressure he was feeling because his company was about to be sold. McGee allegedly used this bit of information to trade on the shares of the insurance company. Of course, at this point, the SEC charges are merely allegations and have not been proven.
A.A. and N.A. stress at every meeting that the information shared at meetings is confidential, and not to be repeated elsewhere.
Significantly, the SEC charges are civil charges, not criminal. McGee faces big fines and loss of his securities license. Many people believe that civil penalties – not criminal – are appropriate for marijuana possession, a path now followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island and 13 other states.