In December 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was rejecting ImClone’s new cancer drug, Erbitux. As the drug represented a major portion of ImClone’s pipeline, the company’s stock took a sharp dive.

Many pharmaceutical investors were hurt by the drop, but the family and friends of CEO Samuel Waksal were, oddly enough, not among them. Among those with a preternatural knack for guessing the FDA’s decision days before the announcement was homemaking guru Martha Stewart. She sold 4,000 shares when the stock was still trading in the high $50s and collected nearly $250,000 on the sale. The stock would plummet to just over $10 in the following months.

ImClone’s stock price dropped sharply at the end of 2001 when its drug Erbitux, an experimental monoclonal antibody, failed to get the expected Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. It was later revealed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that prior to the announcement (after the close of trading on December 28) of the FDA’s decision, numerous executives sold their stock.ImClone’s founder, Samuel D. Waksal, was arrested in 2002 on insider trading charges for instructing friends and family to sell their stock, and attempting to sell his own. His daughter, Aliza Waksal, sold $2.5 million in shares on December 27. His father, Jack Waksal, sold $8.1 million in shares over the 27th and 28th; company executives followed suit. John B. Landes, the general counsel, sold $2.5 million in shares on December 6. Ronald A. Martell, the vice president for marketing and sales, sold $2.1 million in shares on December 11. Four other executives sold shares in the following weeks as well. Later, founder Waksal pleaded guilty to various charges, including securities fraud, and on June 10, 2003, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison.

Martha Stewart, the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, also became embroiled in the scandal after it emerged that her broker, Peter Bacanovic, tipped her off that ImClone was about to drop. In response, Stewart sold about $230,000 in ImClone shares on December 27, 2001, a day before the announcement of the FDA decision. Stewart’s involvement would have never come to light had Doug Faneuil, Bacanovic’s assistant, not disclosed it to investigators. Although Stewart maintained her innocence, she was found guilty and sentenced on July 16, 2004 to five months in prison, five months of home confinement, and two years probation for lying about a stock sale, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

On July 8, a motion for a new trial was denied and sentencing was set for July 16. Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic were each sentenced to five months in prison, five months of home confinement, and two years probation for lying about a stock sale, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. Stewart was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, while Bacanovic was fined $4,000. The judge stayed the sentence while they prepared their appeals.

On September 15, 2004, accompanied by her lawyers and members of the board of directors of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Stewart held a press conference to announce her decision to begin serving her sentence as soon as possible while vowing to continue ahead with her appeal.The event was featured live on national television. On September 21, she was ordered by US District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum to surrender by October 8 to begin her sentence. On September 29, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced that Stewart would serve her sentence at the federal prison camp near Alderson, West Virginia, denying her request to serve it at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. She reported to Alderson Federal Prison Camp early in the morning on October 8.Alderson is a minimum security prison, the lowest level of security in the Bureau of Prisons. There are no fences, and inmates are generally free to walk around the compound unescorted. Stewart, who said her prison nickname was “M. Diddy”, reportedly got along quite well with her fellow inmates and kept herself busy with assigned cleaning tasks. She was released on March 4, 2005 at 12:30 AM.

After being released from Alderson, Stewart began to serve her home confinement at her estate in Bedford, New York. During the confinement she was permitted to leave her property for up to 48 hours a week to conduct business, but was required to wear an electronic ankle monitor to monitor her location at all times. On January 6, 2006, a Federal Appeals court denied Stewart’s appeal and upheld the jury’s verdict.

On May 21, 2004, Larry Stewart (no relation), a United States Secret Service lab director who testified for the government against Martha Stewart, was charged with two counts of perjury. Stock in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia jumped as much as 23 percent on the news. Larry Stewart was an expert witness about the ink on a broker’s worksheet, testifying that the note about selling ImClone shares when it dropped below $60 was different from the rest of the ink on the document. The charges arose when Susan Fortunato, a Secret Service co-worker, complained that she had in fact done the analysis and that it had never been examined by Stewart. Although the jury at the perjury trial felt that Larry Stewart had taken unfair credit for the work done, it did not amount to perjury and he was found not guilty on October 5, 2004. The jury had trouble believing Fortunato, feeling that she had an axe to grind with Stewart.

In October 2005, Stewart was informed that due to her status as a convicted felon in the United States, she was inadmissible for entry into Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Stewart had planned to attend the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta in Nova Scotia. Within two days of the story’s breaking, then Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Joe Volpe granted Stewart a temporary resident permit, thereby allowing her to temporarily enter Canada.However, bad weather prevented her from attending.

In June, 2008, the UK Border Agency, operational since 1 April 2008 with new rules to safeguard British borders, refused to grant her a visa to enter Great Britain, because of her criminal conviction for obstructing justice. She had been planning to speak at the Royal Academy on fashion and leisure industry matters.

In August, 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had agreed to settle the related civil case against Stewart. Under the settlement, Stewart agreed to a five-year bar from serving as a director, or as the CEO, CFO (or other officer roles in which she would be responsible for preparing, auditing, or disclosing financial results), of any public company. She also agreed to pay the maximum penalty of three times the losses she avoided, or $195,000. Bacanovic agreed to pay penalties totaling about $75,000, and was barred associating with a broker, dealer or investment adviser.

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