Trump Media Investor Found Guilty of Insider-Trading Case Ahead of Merger

By Madz Dizon

May 10, 2024 08:23 AM EDT

Trump Media Investor Found Guilty of Insider-Trading Case Ahead of Merger
This illustration photo shows Donald Trump's new social media app Truth SocialÕs logo on a smartphone in Los Angeles, February 21, 2022.
(Photo : CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

An investor was found guilty of insider trading by a federal jury in New York on Thursday. The investor had traded in the stock of a shell company before its announcement in October 2021 that it would merge with Trump Media.

A prominent figure in the business world, Bruce Garelick found himself embroiled in controversy when allegations arose regarding his involvement with Digital World Acquisition Corp.

Ex-Trump Media Merger Board Member Convicted of Insider Trading

Specifically, he was accused of sharing and using confidential information regarding the company's merger plans with Trump Media, the company behind the Truth Social app.

The majority shareholder of Trump Media is former President Donald Trump, who was not implicated in any wrongdoing in the case against Garelick in US District Court in Manhattan.

However, Garelick's trial, which started on April 30, occurred in close proximity to Trump's trial in Manhattan Supreme Court. Trump is facing criminal charges linked to a hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On April 3, Michael and Gerald Shvartsman, two co-defendants of Garelick, admitted their guilt in relation to insider trading charges.

Following the conclusion of closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense, the jurors in Garelick's case commenced their deliberations on Wednesday afternoon.

Following extensive deliberation on Thursday, the jury reached a verdict of guilty on all five counts of securities fraud and conspiracy against Garelick, who is 54 years old.

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Bruce Garelick Set to Face Sentence on September 12

Garelick, who testified during his trial, is set to be sentenced on September 12. According to ABC News, the co-defendants admitted to illegally making over $22 million before the trial, pleading guilty. 

In court filings, prosecutors have identified several additional individuals who made profitable trades around the time of the merger announcement. However, no charges were brought against any of them for any wrongdoing.

It is possible that Garelick could face a minimum prison sentence of 25 years.

He stood confidently before the jury, his attire composed of a dark suit and a gray tie. Following the announcement of the verdict, Garelick visibly displayed his emotions as he sat down, placing his hand on his head.

Following his departure from the courtroom, Garelick chose not to provide any comments, accompanied by his family. The jury had taken approximately five hours to reach a decision.

According to NY Times, Garelick, 54, previously worked as a hedge fund manager and served as a board member of Digital World. After Rocket One became an early investor in Digital World, he joined the board. Digital World was organized as a special purpose acquisition corporation, or SPAC.

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