$1 billion Apple trade turned sour lands Stamford trader in federal court

BRIDGEPORT — A New York man is facing up to 20 years in prison for a $1 billion trade in Apple stock that turned sour in October.
A married father of three, David Miller, 40 of Rockville Center, NY., was arrested at his home Tuesday then charged with one count of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut in Bridgeport. He posted a $300,000 bond and could be back in court on January 8 for a probable cause hearing, if one is needed. The government could seek an indictment in the intervening month from a grand jury and indicates financial stress in his personal life might have played a role. Miller faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of  up to $10 million, if convicted for a trade that went wrong while he worked in the Stamford office of Rochdale Securities.
“As is so often seen in these types of cases, the alleged criminal conduct of Miller was for personal gain at the expense of and detriment of others,” said FBI New Haven Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Mertz, in a prepared statement.
Miller’s attorney, Kenneth Murphy of New York-based Simon and Partners, declined to comment on the case after the hearing.
As relatives and an alleged victim watched, Miller, a big man wearing a dark navy pinstripe suit, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges and his rights as explained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons, who told him he faced very serious allegations.
According to the complaint, on Oct. 25, Miller, then a modestly profitable trader at Rochdale, placed an order for 1.625 million shares of Apple stock, with the plan to sell them after the computer giant reporting earnings. The FBI, which investigated the matter, said Miller disguised the trade as being for a client of Rochdale, and planned to sell the shares at a gain once Apple reported earnings and the share price popped.
However, Apple missed its target that day and the shares fell in aftermarket trading leaving his firm facing a big loss. Apple shares closed at $616.83 on Oct. 24 and fell to $604 on Oct. 26. Shares in Apple closed at $575 on Tuesday.

Rob Varnon