Mark Cuban Charged with Insider Trading

Mark Cuban, occasional bad-boy owner of the Dallas Mavericks and dot-com billionaire, has been indicted accused of insider training by the SEC. The charges, filed today in Texas federal court, allege that Cuban sold his shares of after receiving classified information from the company’s CEO about an upcoming IPO. The SEC says that “despite agreeing in June 2004 to keep material, non-public information about an impending stock offering by Inc. confidential, Cuban sold his entire stack in the company – 600,000 shraes – prior to the public announcement of the offering. By selling when he did, Cuban avoided losses in excess of $750,000.”

The SEC indictment allegations (which can be found here) recount all the sordid, shady details behind the story. True to form, Cuban’s actions portray him as a rich kid who whines when he doesn’t get his way. After being told that he would lose money in the IPO, Cuban wisely retorted, “Well, now I’m screwed. I can’t sell.” The CEO of Mamma described Cuban as having “flew off the handle” at the news, and I can’t blame the guy for getting a little testy. After all, he’d be losing a lot of money, right?

But wait – Cuban is already worth upwards of $2.8 billion. The man is astronomically wealthy. For those of you counting, it would take about 25 Mark Cubans to bail out the US banking system. So what does a measly little $750,000 mean to him? Apparently, a lot. Cuban is a ruthless businessman, but his persona has two sides. There’s the cold, calculating man who takes big risks and gets big payoffs, and then there’s the impulsive little kid who isn’t afraid to speak (or yell) his mind and frequently gets in trouble. Cuban’s been fined over $1.6 million for 13 separate incidents of berating or publicly criticizing NBA referees. Cuban’s illegal sale of the Mamma shares wasn’t about the money – it was about being swindled, about having the rug swept out from under him.

The guy’s used to getting what he wants, but this time he didn’t. He reacted impulsively and will pay the price. But don’t expect this to be the last time Mark Cuban gets in trouble.BC