The dismissal of these charges completely vindicates Dr. Roberts and finally concludes his five-year legal ordeal at the hands of federal criminal and civil prosecutors.
In February 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baton Rouge and the SEC simultaneously filed a criminal indictment and a civil lawsuit against Dr. Roberts. Both the criminal and civil cases alleged that in 2012, Roberts, a dentist, purchased call options in the Shaw Group based on insider information obtained from his brother-in-law, then a Shaw executive, in advance of Shaw being acquired by Chicago Bridge & Iron. Roberts made $700,000 on the trades, and the government alleged he shared $30,000 of the profit with his brother-in-law in return for the “inside information.”
The criminal case culminated in a nine-day trial in August of 2017. SKV partner Shaun Clarke was lead counsel and tried the case with SKV partner, Dane Ball. They were assisted by SKV associate, Alex Wolf. The defense argued that Roberts’s trades were based on his own research, that the tip from his brother-in-law was a speculative rumor, and that information on the merger was already in the public realm when Roberts traded.
On August 15, 2017, the criminal jury unanimously returned a verdict that Dr. Roberts was “Not Guilty” of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Nevertheless, the SEC did not immediately dismiss the civil charges. However, on April 5, 2018, Chief U.S. District Judge Maurice Hicks, Jr. ordered the SEC to file a status report by April 26, 2018. Three days in advance of that deadline, the SEC dismissed the civil charges. Dr. Roberts’s legal nightmare is finally over.
“Jesse and his family have been through a horrible ordeal,” said lead attorney and former federal prosecutor Clarke. “Jesse had the courage to fight for his name and his freedom and now he is finally and completely vindicated.”