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Man accused in Disney insider trading scheme pleads guilty

August 23, 2010 | 11:10 am

The boyfriend of an assistant to a top Walt Disney Co. executive pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud in federal court in New York.

Yonni Sebbag, a citizen of Morocco, was arrested in May along with Bonnie Hoxie, who at the time was an aide to Zenia Mucha, the head of corporate communications for Burbank-based Disney. Both were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud by selling inside information to investment companies.

Sebbag, 33, had been held without bail in Manhattan since the arrest, his attorney said.

"He took full responsibility for his misconduct in this case," said Steven Kartagener, Sebbag's attorney. "The plea agreement is, in our view, a fair foundation for resolving the issues in this case."

Prosecutors say Hoxie obtained advance details about Disney's second-quarter earnings and sent the information to Sebbag. He is accused of trying to sell the tips to at least 33 investment companies.

The charges carry a potential penalty of up to 25 years in prison and fines of $250,000 or twice the gain from their illegal activities, which is greater.

Under terms of the agreement, Sebbag agreed to forfeit $15,000, the amount he received from undercover FBI agents in exchange for the disclosure of the inside information. He also faces 27 to 33 months in jail and the prospect of deportation.

Sebbag is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 16.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski