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16 Who Solved Drug Tainting Split $300,000

Associated Press

A San Francisco stockbroker will get $200,000 and 15 other people will share another $100,000 as reward for their part in the arrest and imprisonment of a former San Marino, Calif., stock brokerage trainee, the first person in the nation charged with drug tampering.

The reward money was offered by The Proprietary Assn., a Washington-based group that represents over-the-counter medicines, in the poison-capsule case involving Edward Arlen Marks, who was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport last May.

Marks, 25, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Orlando Aug. 26 to putting rat poison into Contac, Teldrin and Dietac capsules, repackaging them and putting them on store shelves in Houston and Orlando.

Stock Expected to Fall

He then bought options on the stock of SmithKline Beckman Corp. of Philadelphia, manufacturer of the medicines, in the hopes that panic over the tampering would cause the manufacturer’s stock to drop. If it had, he would have made a lot of money on a $10,000 investment in the stock market. But it didn’t, and no one was hurt as a result of the scheme.

Rick Ackerman, 37, of San Francisco provided the first clue in the case and is to receive two-thirds of the award.

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He learned that someone had bought an unusually large number of options of the SmithKline stock. Ackerman traced the transactions to the brokerage house in Pasadena, Calif., and told the FBI about his detective work.

Pieces Fall Into Place

“It all fell into place once that guy came forward,” said Orlando FBI Supervisor Perry Doran. “I’m not surprised he would get the bulk of the money. I thought he would get all of it.”

Seven traders of SmithKline stock on the Pacific Stock Exchange will split $25,000. They provided information about Marks when contacted by the FBI. A clerk at the Orlando Sentinel, Josephine Cipolla, was awarded $20,000 for identifying Marks’ voice on a tape recording. A spokeswoman for The Proprietary Assn. said she could not identify all those receiving money until they sign releases.


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