While Playboy is known for all things provocative, illegality is another matter.
Now the men's magazine can thank Bill Marovitz, husband of former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner – daughter of Hugh – for changing that.
Marovitz stands accused of using information his wife gave him to trade shares — a crime known as insider trading. Fortune reports that the SEC has opened a suit against Marovitz and posted the complaint.
The basis for the suit reads:
Despite instructions from his wife that he should not trade in shares of Playboy and a warning from the general counsel of Playboy about his buying or selling Playboy stock, Marovitz bought and sold shares of Playboy in his own brokerage accounts between 2004 and 2009 ahead of public news announcements related to Iconix's potential acquisition of Playboy, Playboy's negative earnings announcements and Playboy's offering of stock. As a result of his misuse of confidential information about Playboy, Marovitz gained profits and avoided losses totaling $100,952.40.
As this section points out, there appear to be a few key offenses. For one, Marovitz purchased stock as Playboy was negotiating a potential sale, but the deal fell through after news broke and Playboy's stock skyrocketed.
Christie Hefner already had resigned as CEO, but she was advising on the deal. Hugh Hefner has since taken Playboy private.
It is also alleged that Marovitz used confidential earnings information to trade on Playboy stock.
Fortune also reports that an SEC spokesperson said Marovitz had already agreed to pay $168,352.
Neither the SEC nor Playboy has responded to requests for comment.