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Super Bowl Tippee at Wedbush Charged with Insider Trading

In a less than festive recognition of Super Bowl weekend, the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday charged a Wedbush Securities broker and two of his clients with insider trading.

While attending the 2011 Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arlington, Texas, a client of Wedbush advisor Marc Winters learned about a forthcoming “strategic transaction” that e-commerce marketing company GSI Commerce was planning, according to an SEC lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in the Central District of California.

Less than two months later, eBay announced a $2.4 billion acquisition of GSI. Winters and his clients – Robert M. Munakash and Carlos A. Rodriguez – together made a profit of $226,000 through sales of stock across several accounts, including those of Munakash’s parents, the SEC alleged.

Munakash, who owns and operates three gas station/convenience stores in southern California,  learned about the forthcoming deal from a GSIC executive who attended the game with him, according to the SEC. Rodriguez is a manager of one of the gas stations. Mr. Rodriguez declined to comment. and Mr. Munakash could not be reached.

Winters, who has been with Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities since 2004, declined in a phone call to comment. In August 2004, he was discharged from UBS for failing to provide accurate customer information relating to mutual fund sales, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck database.