Man Spies on BP Wife's Business, Makes $2 Million in Profits, Sued for Insider Trading

Man Spies on BP Wife's Business, Makes $2 Million in Profits, Sued for Insider Trading

A Texas man made nearly $2 million by illegally trading information obtained from his wife's conversations with BP colleagues, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, in the latest case about spying on spouses while working from home.

Tyler Loudon over a period of months bought shares of TravelCenters of America, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday. He liquidated his brokerage accounts, and in February 2023, when BP announced it would buy TravelCenters of America at a 74% premium, Loudon made a profit of $1.76 million.

The regulator said his wife, then BP's director of mergers and acquisitions who was working on the deal, was unaware of his dealings.

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According to court filings from the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. attorneys in Texas, Tyler got the idea to buy shares in TravelCenters after learning about the potential deal from his wife, who worked for the company in a home office twenty feet away.

When he finally confessed to his wife, she left home and later filed for divorce. She reported her trades to BP, which fired her despite finding no evidence that she intentionally leaked the deal, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As part of the deal, Loudon agreed to relinquish the money he earned from the transactions and pay a fine. Loudoun's attorney, Peter Zeidenberg, declined to comment. Loudon agreed to be barred from serving as an executive at a public company without denying the SEC's allegations, according to the regulator. BP declined to comment.

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The purchase of TravelCenters of America Inc. In exchange for approximately $1.3 billion, the British oil company was granted access to a network of American gas stations. At the time of the transaction, TravelCenters had a network of 281 locations in 44 states.

Since the work-from-home era began at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC has brought numerous insider trading cases involving information heard or seen while working from home with a significant other. According to the SEC, Loudoun's espionage extended overseas. While traveling through Rome, the SEC said Loudon sat near his wife while she worked for TravelCenters in a small rented apartment.

© 2024 Bloomberg LP.

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

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