Insider Trading at Twilio Results in Charges against 7 Defendants

Three employees at San Francisco cloud communications company Twilio are among seven people charged in connection with a $1 million insider trading scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced.

According to an agency statement, engineers Hari Sure, Lokesh Lagudu and Chotu Pulagam, along with acquaintances Dileep Kamujula, Sai Nekkalapudi, Abhishek Dharmapurikar and Chetan Pulagam were charged. The seven are accused of generating more than $1 million in collective profits by insider trading ahead of the company’s earnings announcement in May of 2020.

“We allege that this insider trading ring took advantage of valuable revenue information related to the pandemic at a San Francisco tech company,” said Monique C. Winkler, acting regional director of the agency’s regional office in San Francisco. “We are holding these alleged tippers and tippees accountable for their roles in the scheme.”

According to the SEC complaint, the three employees had access to databases relevant to the company’s reporting of revenue. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March of 2020, the employees noted increased use of the company’s products and concluded in a group chat Twilio’s stock would “rise for sure.”

The complaint went on to allege the employees tipped off or used brokerage accounts of their family and close friends to trade Twilio stocks and options ahead of the announcement.