Husband of Ex-Playboy CEO Sued for Insider Trading

CHICAGO — The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday accused the husband of Christie Hefner of insider trading in Playboy Enterprises stock.

William Marovitz, the husband of Hefner, Playboy's former CEO, was sued by regulators for gaining $100,000 by trading on confidential information obtained from his wife, according to a complaint filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Chicago.

“Despite instructions from his wife that he should not trade in shares of Playboy and a warning from the general counsel of Playboy about his buying or selling Playboy stock, Marovitz bought and sold shares of Playboy in his own brokerage accounts between 2004 and 2009 ahead of public news announcements,” the complaint said.

The complaint noted that confidential information Marovitz, a former Illinois state senator, traded on were Playboy’s negative earnings announcements, a stock offering and Playboy's possible acquisition by mainstream brand holder Iconix Brand Group, which broke off talks with the adult entertainment giant in late 2009.

Iconix, at the time, was interested in licensing the brand and had wanted to “divest, shut down or find partners” for Playboy units.

Marovitz’s lawyer, Jim Streicker of Chicago, told Reuters the case has been settled and that Marovitz already has agreed to pay $168,000 in penalties, disgorgement and interest to settle the civil case.

“Mr. Marovitz has no comment on the complaint or the settlement agreement,” his attorney, Streicker, said in a telephone interview with Reuters. “He lost substantial sums of money on his investments in Playboy over the years."