Bonnie Hoxie sentenced in trading scheme

NEW YORK (AP) — A teary former executive assistant at Disney who schemed with her boyfriend to sell secrets about the company’s finances said she was “blindsided by love” before she was sentenced Tuesday to four months of home confinement.

Bonnie Hoxie, 34, of Los Angeles dabbed tears from her eyes when U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein announced early in her sentencing proceeding that she would not be going to prison after pleading guilty in September to wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.

She fought back tears again when she told Hellerstein she was “completely irresponsible” when she fed nonpublic information such as the company’s quarterly earnings last year to her then-boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag. He tried to sell the inside tips by sending anonymous letters to 33 hedge funds and other investment companies. Most of the firms, including some in Manhattan, notified the FBI.

“I think I was blindsided by love and not making the correct choices,” said Hoxie, who was the assistant to Disney’s head of corporate communications when she was arrested last May.

The judge said she can continue to work two restaurant jobs while she serves home confinement, which will be monitored by phone calls with a probation officer in California. He also ordered her to serve 100 hours annually of community service during three years of probation, though lawyers noted that she had long been active in her community on behalf of animals, AIDS prevention and children.

Sebbag, a citizen of Morocco who also lived in Los Angeles, was sentenced previously to more than two years in prison.

Sebbag and Hoxie were arrested after Sebbag met two undercover FBI agents in New York and accepted $15,000 in cash for providing inside information. Prosecutors said he agreed to provide similar information in the future in return for a 30 percent share of any profits from early trades.

Attorney Robert Baum, who represented Hoxie in court, noted that his client made no money from sharing the inside information with Sebbag to help him get out of debt. He said she did not know he planned to approach investment companies.

“What he did went far beyond the nature of the crime she thought she was getting involved with,” Baum said. All she had asked Sebbag for in return was a designer pocketbook and a pair of shoes, he added.

Baum said Hoxie works up to 14 hours a day to make ends meet and had frequently dedicated her life to others, including rescuing a brother from a drug problem and helping to pay for another brother to attend college.

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