The Case of the Security Guard with Ketchup on his Hands

With the flow of announcements from the Securities and Exchange Commission, odd things will catch my eye for further review. For the insider trading case against Todd David Alpert, it was because the SEC said that he “worked as a security professional at the home of a Heinz board member.” A tilt of my head left me wondering what kind of securities professional was working at the home of a board member.

That was me confusing “security professional” with “securities professional.” Of course, I realized that “security professional” was a fancy term for security guard. But by the time I realized my mistake, I was deep into the complaint against Todd David Alpert.

Once I realized he was a security guard I immediate thought of the railroad insider trading case. I was ready to give Mr. Alpert credit for leveraging his position. I assumed he had identified the comings and goings from his post and tied that into what was going on behind the scenes.

I was thinking of the defenses from the railroad workers noticing the action in the railyards or counting cars at WalMart.

Then my jaw dropped.

The problem was the board member. The unnamed board member would forward emails to the Mr. Alpert in his role as a security professional, and ask him to print the email and attachments.

The Board Member forwarded an email regarding the potential Heinz acquisition with a direction to “print now”. The attachments to the email contained materials that would be discussed on an upcoming Heinz board of directors’ call, including a copy of the revised acquisition proposal letter, which included the word “CONFIDENTIAL” in boldface and stated that the proposed price for Heinz for $72.50 per share.

From the timeline presented in the case, Mr. Alpert read the attachment and quickly bought Heinz stock and options.

I can’t believe the board member was forwarding this incredibly sensitive information to the security guard to print. Who was this board member that was too lazy or incompetent to print a document on his own?

I pulled up the list of board of directors to see.  I couldn’t pull the pieces together. Then I got distracted when I saw that Lynn Swann, the ex Pittsburgh Steeler was on the board. One of those 12 does not know how to print email attachments.