Ex-Amazon analyst pleads guilty to fraud charge

SEATTLE -- A former financial analyst at Amazon has pleaded guilty to an insider-trading charge, admitting in court he tipped off a college friend to information about the company's forthcoming earnings report in spring 2015.

Federal prosecutors in Seattle say Brett D. Kennedy fed information he had about a forthcoming Amazon earnings report to a friend who was a securities trader.

Kennedy resigned from Amazon in May. Prosecutors said that his former fraternity brother at the University of Washington, Maziar Rezakhani, made stock trades based on the information Kennedy provided, quickly profited $116,000 and then paid Kennedy $10,000 in cash for the tip.

“Insider trading of any kind corrodes trust in one of the crown jewels of our country -- our financial markets,” said U. S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “As this case demonstrates, we work closely with our law enforcement partners – including the FBI and the SEC – to investigate and hold accountable those involved in this serious crime.”

The insider trading scheme came to light as investigators were looking into a separate fraud by Rezakhani, for which he is serving five years in federal prison.

Kennedy's lawyer, Chris Black, says his 26-year-old client has taken full responsibility.