• U.S.

Crime: Thayer Admits a Stock Swindle

1 minute read

When Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Thayer resigned last year amid Securities and Exchange Commission allegations of illegal insider stock trading, he contended that the charges were “entirely without merit” and vowed to fight. Last week Thayer threw in the towel. He and an associate, former Dallas Stockbroker Billy Bob Harris, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Washington to obstructing justice by giving false testimony during an SEC investigation of his dealings.

By pleading guilty, Thayer admitted to a prosecutor’s allegations that in 1982, while chairman of the Dallas-based LTV Corp. and a director of four other companies, he passed confidential information to Harris on Anheuser- Busch’s $560 million acquisition of Campbell Taggart, a Dallas food conglomerate. Thayer also allegedly tipped Harris to two other merger deals. The inside dope netted $1.9 million in illegal profits for Harris along with Thayer’s onetime companion Sandra Ryno, a former receptionist at LTV, and six other Thayer friends. Ryno gave the Government incriminating information against her friends and was not charged. Although prosecutors will recommend leniency, Thayer and Harris could face a maximum five-year prison sentence.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com