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Former Disney administrator pleads guilty to charges related to insider trading

September 21, 2010 |  4:29 pm

A former administrative assistant to a top executive at the Walt Disney Co. pled guilty Tuesday to fraud charges related to her participation in an insider trading scheme.

Bonnie J. Hoxie, 34, of Los Angeles admitted in federal district court in New York to attempting to sell confidential inside information that she gained access to as an assistant for Disney's head of corporate communications, Zenia Mucha. 

According to the criminal complaint, Hoxie obtained material, nonpublic information about Disney, including advance details about its second-quarter earnings. She shared the information with her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, for the purpose of selling it to outside investors in advance of the company's earnings call.

Sebbag sent letters to hedge funds and other investment companies, offering to sell the information for purposes of insider trading. Sebbag, who is a Moroccan citizen, pled guilty last month to conspiracy and wire fraud. He faces 33 months in prison and possible deportation.

Three days in advance of the May 11 earnings call, Hoxie sent a confidential document that contained a collection of talking points that Disney's executives would refer to while answering analysts' questions, according to the criminal complaint. Roughly two hours in advance of the public announcement, she revealed by e-mail that the company's earnings per share would be 48 cents, better than analysts had predicted.

Hoxie pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of wire fraud and faces of up to 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the amount she gained from the offense. Hoxie will be sentenced Dec. 21. Her lawyer Robert M. Baum could not be reached for comment.

— Dawn C. Chmielewski