3 charged in insider trading case related to taking Trump media firm public, accused of making $22M

Michael Shvartsman, center, and his brother Gerald, right, leave the federal courthouse with their attorney Thursday after posting bond in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

NEW YORK — Three Florida men were charged Thursday with making more than $22 million through illegal insider trading before the public announcement that an acquisition firm was going to take former President Donald Trump’s media company public.

The charges were outlined in an indictment unsealed in New York that did not in any way implicate Trump or Trump Media &Technology Group, which owns his Truth Social platform.

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The charges make it less likely that Trump Media will be able to pocket the $1.3 billion promised upon completion of a merger with the acquisition firm. The merger is pending the approval of securities regulators.

According to the indictment, the men were invited to invest in the special purpose acquisition company, Digital World Acquisition Corp., and were provided confidential information that a potential target of DWAC and another acquisition company, Benessere Capital Acquisition Corp., was Trump Media.

Authorities said the defendants bought millions of dollars of DWAC securities on the open market before news of the Trump Media business was made public. After the public announcement, the men dumped their securities for a significant profit, according to the court papers.

The indictment said one of the defendants tipped off a neighbor to buy stock in DWAC, calling it a “good bet” without saying how he knew.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams warned that insider trading “is not easy money,” calling it “cheating.”

The arrested men were identified as Michael Shvartsman, 52, of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida; his brother Gerald Shvartsman, 45, of Aventura, Florida; and Bruce Garelick, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

All three made initial court appearances Thursday afternoon in Miami and were freed on bonds.

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