Former Abaxis worker settles SEC insider trading case

Abaxis ($ABAX) is generating some media attention, but not involving its blood testing equipment for humans and animals. A former employee with the California medical device company has settled U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that she passed on confidential financial information to her brother, who was recently sentenced on securities and wire fraud charges relating to the case.

Bloomberg and Reuters reported on the deal that ThanhHa Bao made with the SEC. She'll pay $145,000 in fines, they explain, and can't take a job for five years as either an officer or director with a public company.

Bao had worked in Abaxis' finance department. SEC officials alleged she abused her position by passing on confidential information from 2006 to 2009 to her brother, Tai Nguyen, who was a fund manager at SAC Capital Adviser LP. Last June, he pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. Last month, as Reuters and Bloomberg note, he was sentenced to 366 days in prison and must also pay $400,000 in "criminal forfeiture."

According to the Bloomberg report, the SEC said Nguyen made $145,000 off his sister's insider trading tips, and that information he passed to two managers at Sonar Capital Management and Barai Capital Management helped funds run by both firms make about $6.2 million.

Abaxis' stock traded at $48.70 mid-morning on Tuesday, up more than 1.8%.

- read the Reuters story
- here's Bloomberg's take