The SEC might be feeling like a little like Oprah lately, handing out refunds the way Oprah hands out cars. "You get a refund! You get a refund! YOU get a refund!"
Last week, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the SEC's judgment against Diamondback Capital Management LLC must be vacated after the conviction of former Diamondback fund manager Todd Newman was thrown out. Newman's conviction was overturned due to the decision of the Second Circuit in U.S. v. Newman. As a result of Judge Scheindlin's ruling, Diamondback will reportedly get back "all or part" of the more than $9 million it paid to settle the SEC's insider trading case against it. Under that settlement, Diamondback paid more than $6 million to cover allegedly ill-gotten gains as well as a $3 million civil penalty.
As I discussed here, just a few days prior to Judge Scheindlin's ruling last month, the SEC agreed to issue a then-"unprecedented" $21.5 million refund to Level Global after the conviction underlying its SEC settlement was similarly overturned due to Newman. So now, in addition to the $21.5 million refund check to Level Global, the SEC will also soon be stroking a $9 million refund check to Diamondback. It may be time for the SEC to order some new checks just in case this trend continues!