Peter E. Talbot, 43, pleaded guilty before Judge Michael A. Ponsor in United States District Court to a six-count indictment charging him with conspiracy and securities fraud.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the government’s evidence would have proven that Talbot, who was employed by the Hartford Investment Management Company (HIMCO), used confidential information he obtained through the course of his employment to determine that the insurance company Safeco Corp. was a potential acquisition target of HIMCO’s parent company, the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. Talbot proceeded to tip his nephew and co-defendant, Carl E. Binette, with regard to Safeco’s status as a potential acquisition target, and the two set up an online brokerage account in Binette’s name to buy Safeco securities beginning on April 17, 2008. After the acquisition of Safeco by a third insurance company, Liberty Mutual, was announced on April 23, 2008, Talbot and Binette sold off all of the Safeco securities for a profit of approximately $615,800.
Judge Ponsor scheduled sentencing for April 26, 2012. Talbot faces up to five years in prison and a fine of over $1.2 million for the conspiracy count and 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million for each count of securities fraud.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Boston Field Division made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vassili Thomadakis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.