Playboy’s Bizarre Insider Trading Scandal

All of these women probably have company stock stuffed in their fluffy tails

When most people search for Playboy news (because I guess that’s something people do) they’ll come across articles about parties and confusing marriages.  Unfortunately the Playboy empire isn’t all beautiful young ladies and octogenarian sex, the company has had to deal with a serious insider trading case.  The trading scandal broke in 2010 and has since been ruled and resolved, but Bloomberg released a scathing article about Playboy’s insider trading problem that has brought the issue into the spotlight again.

Like any other good media empire, Playboy Enterprises INC. started out as a family owned business.  Christine Hefner, daughter of Hugh Hefner, was made the chairman of the board and CEO of Playboy Enterprises INC in 1988.  She held on to the title for nearly 20 years and shocked people when she announced that she was stepping down in 2009 since ater the 2008 election win of Barack Obama she felt compelled to spend more time doing charity work (She may be the only CEO in American history to be inspired to be more charitable after Barack Obama became president instead of spending time throwing a tantrum).

Christine was well into her charity work when her husband William Marovitz approached her on a March evening in 2010 to tell her that he was being investigated by the SEC for insider trading.  Marovitz’s confession shocked Christine to her core, mainly because she wasn’t even aware that her husband had any shares of Playboy to begin with.  Christie is the kind of woman who liked to set boundaries between business and pleasure.  Even though the Playboy company helped Marovitz broker a casino deal Christine was very adamant on not having her husband get involved with Playboy Enterprises.  In 1998 she had her lawyers draft a brief that explained the many negative consequences Marovitz would endure if he purchased Playboy stock.  Luckily Marovitz is a good looking rebel who plays by his own rules so he promptly ignored stock rules set by his wife.

In 2004 Marovitz purchased 5,000 shares of Playboy stock before his wife was scheduled to announce that the company was going to use new stock to help pay down their debt.  Marovitz continued to illegally buy, sell, and trade Playboy stock until the SEC told him to cut it out in early 2010.  When he testified before SEC investigators he denied any wrong doing and used his Fifth Amendment right 179 times during his testimony.

Marovitz may have denied any wrong doing, but that didn’t stop the SEC from slapping him with a $168,352 fine.  After the case was settled the Christine and William separated after what was probably the most awkward few months of their lives.