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18-136MR IT consultant charged with gaining unauthorised access to data and insider trading
IT consultant Steven Oakes, of Sydney, New South Wales, has been charged with a total of 115 offences for unauthorised access to data held in a computer, insider trading, and destroying or concealing books required by ASIC. The filing hearing for Mr Oakes’ charges was listed at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 14 May 2018.
Mr Oakes’ charges comprised:
- 43 serious computer offences under s477.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) for unauthorised access to data held in a computer with the intention to commit a serious offence, namely insider trading;
- 70 insider trading offences under s1043A(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth); and
- 2 offences under s67(1) of the Australian Securities and Commission Act 2001 (Cth) for conduct that resulted in the concealment, destruction, mutilation or alteration of books required by ASIC.
ASIC alleges that between January 2012 and February 2016, Mr Oakes gained unauthorised access to inside information from the private computer network of a Melbourne-based financial publisher, with the intention of using this information to engage in insider trading. The inside information was recommendations to buy particular shares that were about to be published in stock recommendation reports.
ASIC alleges that Mr Oakes then used this information on 70 occasions to buy shares in 52 different ASX-listed companies before the ‘Buy’ recommendations for the shares in those companies were published. He made profits from selling the shares a short time later, following the reports’ publication.
ASIC also alleges that in March 2016, Mr Oakes concealed, destroyed, mutilated or altered ‘books’ in the form of electronic devices required to be produced to ASIC in connection with its investigation.
Mr Oakes was not required to enter a plea on this occasion and the matter was adjourned to 25 June 2018 for committal mention.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.
On 25 June 2018, Mr Oakes' committal mention was listed at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court. The matter was adjourned to 23 July 2018 for a further committal mention.
Editor's note 2:
On 23 July 2018 Mr Oakes entered pleas of guilty to a total of 10 charges, comprising:
- Eight charges of insider trading (s1043A Corporations Act 2001) in relation to 70 trades between 23 January 2012 and 15 February 2016;
- One charge of unauthorised access to data held in a computer with the intention to commit a serious offence in relation to access to data between 23 January 2012 and 15 February 2016 (s477.1 Criminal Code); and
- One charge of conduct that resulted in the concealment, destruction, mutilation or alteration of books required by ASIC (s67 Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001).
Mr Oakes has been bailed on his own undertaking to appear for plea at the County Court at Melbourne on 22 October 2018.
Editor's note 3:
On 18 October 2018, at the County Court Melbourne, Mr Oakes made an application to adjourn his plea hearing. The plea hearing was adjourned to 15 March 2019.