New York–MICHAEL YIN, a/k/a “Shaohua Yin,” was indicted July 16 on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud in connection with an insider trading scheme relating to the securities of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (“Lattice”). YIN remains at large.
From approximately March 2016 to February 2017, YIN obtained from a friend and business associate, Benjamin Chow, material nonpublic information relating to a potential merger between Lattice and successive private equity firms managed by Chow, one based in Beijing, China (“Firm-1”), and one based in Palo Alto, California, with offices in Beijing, China (“Firm-2”). YIN used such information to make more than $5 million in profitable securities trades through accounts opened in the names of YIN’s family members and associates.
Specifically, as Managing Director of Firm-1 and later Managing Partner of Firm-2, Chow obtained material nonpublic information regarding potential merger agreements between Lattice and Firm-1 and later Firm-2. Information concerning the potential merger agreements was subject, among other things, to nondisclosure agreements executed between Lattice and Chow on behalf of Firm-1 and later Firm-2.
Through multiple meetings in Beijing, China, voice messages, and text exchanges, YIN obtained from Chow material nonpublic information regarding the potential merger between Lattice and Firm-1 and later Firm-2, which Chow provided to YIN in violation of the nondisclosure agreements Chow executed with Lattice on behalf of Firm-1 and Firm-2. YIN made profitable trades in Lattice shortly after receiving the material nonpublic information from Chow, yielding a total of at least approximately $5 million in profits. For example, on one occasion, Chow told YIN, in substance and as transcribed and translated from Chinese, that Chow should soon be able to execute a merger agreement with Lattice. Beginning the following day, and over the course of the next three weeks, YIN purchased more than 2.2 million shares of Lattice stock.
Chow was previously charged in this District and found guilty in a jury trial of several offenses for his role in the scheme and is presently awaiting sentencing in front of U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods.
YIN, 45, of Beijing, China, is charged with one count of conspiring to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison, and 13 counts of securities fraud, which carry maximum sentences of 20 and 25 years in prison. The charges also carry a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.