United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Jennifer Arbittier Williams, announced Monday that a Penn National Gaming employee, who served as Director of Backend Architecture at its iGaming division Penn Interactive, was charged by Criminal Information with insider trading on a public company’s stock. The market bets netted him approximately $560,000 in personal profits.
According to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, David Roda learned in early July 2021 that Penn National was considering a potential acquisition of Score Media and Gaming, Inc., and knew that he had a duty to keep this information confidential. Nonetheless, on July 22, using this material, non-public information, Roda purchased 200 Score Media call option contracts for approximately $13,000.
Furthermore, after a senior officer at Penn Interactive informed Roda in August 2021 that the acquisition would be announced within days, Roda allegedly purchased 300 more Score Media call option contracts for approximately $7,000. The following day, Penn National announced its agreement to acquire Score Media, and Score Media’s stock price rose drastically. Roda then closed out his Score Media call option contracts for approximately $580,000, netting personal profits of approximately $560,000.
“Insider trading undermines faith in our financial markets and harms ordinary investors who play by the rules,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “As alleged, David Roda placed himself above the law by using information to which he had privileged access to cheat the market and other investors. Our Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to maintain the integrity of the financial markets.”
“David Roda allegedly traded on material, non-public information and made out like a bandit,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Insider trading like that is patently unfair to investors and a direct threat to the integrity of our financial markets. The FBI takes this crime seriously, and if you decide the risk of such illegal behavior is worth the potential reward, know that we will investigate and ensure you’re held accountable.”
Roda is no longer employed at the company, and faces additional civil charges filed by the Securities Exchange Commission. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick J. Murray.
Roda began working for Penn Interactive in 2019 as a programmer for its online sportsbook application. In June 2021, he was promoted to the director position, and continued his work as a programmer while overseeing a group of other employees also working on the sportsbook application. In April, Penn National posted Roda’s past job as a current opening.
Penn National Gaming, which has a majority ownership in Barstool Sports, first announced in August last year that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming, owner of theScore, for approximately $2.0 billion in cash and stock. The transaction was completed in October.
Earlier this month, Score Media announced it will shut down its sportsbook in the United States on Canada Day, July 1, ending the Toronto-based brand’s growth strategy south of the border, eight months after theScore’s acquisition by Penn National Gaming aimed at growing market share in the North American sports betting market.