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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Four charged by SEC over Silicon Valley insider trading settle case, (NASDAQ: AMAT)

Four California men accused by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission of involvement in a Silicon Valley insider trading ring have agreed to pay roughly $1.67 million to settle the regulator's civil fraud charges. The SEC said former Barclays Capital analyst John Gray and his friend Christian Keller used disposable prepaid mobile phones to conduct insider trading from 2009 to 2012.It said that in exchange for kickbacks, Keller provided tips about confidential news he learned while working as a financial analyst at the chipmaker Applied Materials Inc and in investor relations and finance at Rovi Corp, which provides technology for digital entertainment devices.Gray and Keller then tried to hide illegal trades in an account held in the name of Gray's friend, Kyle Martin, who worked at a Beverly Hills car dealership. Gray also gave tips to his friend Aaron Shepard, an installer of car stereos, the SEC said.The scheme resulted in about $743,000 of illegal profits from trades ahead of Applied Materials' purchases of Semitool Inc in 2009 and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc in 2011, and two Rovi earnings announcements in 2012, the SEC said.

Applied Materials, Inc. (Applied) provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the global semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV) and related industries. Shares of AMAT traded higher by 1.52% or $0.36/share to $23.98. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $16.88 and as high as $25.71. On average, 12588400 shares of AMAT exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 9311765.