Civic News
Crime / Legal

Ex-eBay Enterprise exec gets 15 months in prison for insider trading

"I'm humiliated, I'm embarrassed, I'm ashamed," said Chris Saridakis, who was convicted of tipping off four people to the sale of GSI Commerce to eBay in 2011.

Chris Saridakis, the former president of King of Prussia’s eBay Enterprise, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for insider trading this morning in federal court. He must turn himself in by Dec. 1.

“I’m humiliated, I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed,” said Saridakis, who tipped off four family members and friends to the sale of GSI Commerce to eBay in 2011.

Saridakis, 45, of Greenville, Del., was an executive of GSI Commerce at the time. He went on to become president of the company, which later became eBay Enterprise. The $2.4 billion sale of GSI Commerce was the biggest tech business acquisition in the Philadelphia region in the last 15 years.

When asked why he did it, he told Judge Stewart Dalzell that he thought he was doing his friends and family “a favor.” (One of those people was Jules Gardner, founder of media tech company PointRoll. Gardner, who cooperated with the feds, was only charged in the civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.)

The prison sentence, stemming from the criminal charges against him, is on top of the penalties Saridakis faced from the SEC civil suit. He had to pay $664,822 — two percent of his $32 million net worth, Dalzell noted — and agree to a lifetime ban from being an executive at a public company.

“His career is over,” said Richard Zack, Saridakis’s attorney, in an attempt to show Dalzell that his client had already paid dearly for his crime.

He asked Dalzell to give Saridakis probation, pointing out that Saridakis made no monetary profit from the insider trading tips and that he admitted to his wrongdoing.

Dalzell refused. Probation would amount to “a slap on the wrist,” he said.

Dalzell also denied Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Goldstein’s request for two-and-a-half to three years in prison for Saridakis.

At the sentencing, four people testified on Saridakis’s behalf, including two from his days at DoubleClick, the ’90s-era online ad service group Saridakis co-ran. (Google acquired DoubleClick in 2008 for $3.1 billion, but Saridakis left the company in 2002 for PointRoll, which he sold to Gannett for $100 million in 2005.)

Saridakis, said former DoubleClick CEO (and current Twitter board member) David Rosenblatt, hired people who the tech industry would normally not give a chance. People with less experience, people who didn’t speak English very well.

Rosenblatt, who runs New York City-based online marketplace 1stdibs, was a GSI Commerce board member.

In a choked-up testimony, Saridakis’s wife, Penny Saridakis, asked the judge not to take Saridakis away from his four pre-teen children.

Dalzell also ordered Saridakis to pay a $10,000 fine. Saridakis has two weeks to appeal.

Companies: eBay Enterprise

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