SEC accuses consultant, friend of insider trading before P.F. Chang deal: Reuters

(Reuters) U.S. securities regulators on Wednesday accused a Los Angeles-based “life coach” of tipping two friends including a producer on “Extreme Makeover” to confidential information about P.F. Chang‘s China Bistro before its sale in 2012.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Richard Condon, an executive coaching consultant to Panda Restaurant Group, which was involved in the bidding process for P.F. Chang’s.

The SEC said Condon, 66, repeatedly shared information he learned about the potential acquisition of the restaurant chain with Jonathan Ross, a friend, and Howard Schulz, who produced “Extreme Makeover” among other shows and who died in 2014.

The SEC said Ross, Schultz and a third trader tipped by Ross, Ali Sagheb, made about $300,000 following the announcement in May 2012 that P.F. Chang’s would sell itself to Centerbridge Partners for $1.1 billion.

Ali Sagheb, a friend of Ross’s, agreed to settle with the SEC for $19,829, which comprised his profits plus interest, the regulator said.

Matthew Umhofer, Condon’s lawyer, in a statement called the SEC’s allegations “speculative,” adding that his client “made no money on a corporate deal that analysts and media sources had publicly predicted.”

Lawyers for Ross, 66, and Sagheb, 43, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lighthearted Entertainment, which Schultz founded, had no immediate comment.

The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Condon, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 15-07443.