Skip to main content

BP Executive’s Spouse Found Guilty of Insider Trading | March 2024

A BP executive’s spouse made $1.76 million in profits after buying and selling stocks over seven weeks after eavesdropping on important work-from-home calls. Tyler Loudon pleaded guilty to insider trading.

What is Insider Trading?

Insider trading involves the buying or selling of securities by individuals with access to non-public, material information about a publicly traded company. This information, which could include significant events affecting the company's stock value, is considered privileged and should not be used for personal gain.

There are legal and illegal forms of insider trading. Legal insider trading involves transactions by company insiders within defined legal boundaries, with mandatory reporting to regulatory authorities. Illegal insider trading occurs when individuals trade based on material non-public information, breaching their duty of trust and confidence to the company and its shareholders.

Regulatory bodies, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, actively monitor and investigate such activities to maintain market integrity and investor confidence, imposing penalties for violations.

Insider Trading While Working Remote

Loudon’s wife, who was not named in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint, was a mergers and acquisitions executive at BP, a British oil and gas company. While his wife was working remotely, Loudon overheard discussions about BP’s potential acquisition of TravelCenters of America, a fuel and truck stop company.

Loudon proceeded to sell all of his positions in his brokerage account and Roth IRA, totaling more than $2 million, so he could go all-in on TravelCenters. He purchased 46,450 shares of TravelCenters stock, anticipating the stock would gain in value after the acquisition was announced.

Loudon’s prediction was correct: the stock increased in value by more than 70 percent. He then sold the stock. His activities were done without his wife’s knowledge, allegedly.

Coming Clean

It is standard for regulators to monitor for insider trading after a major deal. When the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private business regulator, asked BP for a list of people who knew about the acquisition, select employees were asked to disclose personal information. Loudon’s wife mentioned this to her husband. Loudon confessed what he had done to his wife, perhaps out of guilt or fear of getting her in trouble, saying he had committed the crime selflessly for her benefit.

Facing Consequences

Loudon’s wife promptly reported her husband’s activity to her supervisor and was placed on administrative leave. Even though a review of her text messages and emails did not show any evidence that she was in on the trading, she acknowledged that she did informally discuss some parts of the acquisition with her husband. Eventually, she was terminated. Loudon’s wife moved out and filed for divorce.

Loudon faced up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and related civil charges. As part of a plea deal, Loudon turned over the $1.76 million in profit to the United States.

In the Classroom

This article can be used to discuss conflicts of interest (Chapter 2: Business Ethics and Social Responsibility) and securities markets (Chapter 16: Financial Management and Securities Markets).

Discussion Questions

  1. What is insider trading?
  2. Why was the husband found guilty and not the wife?
  3. In your opinion, was Loudon’s wife wrongfully terminated?

This article was developed with the support of Kelsey Reddick for and under the direction of O.C. Ferrell, Linda Ferrell, and Geoff Hirt.


Amanda Holpuch, "Man Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading After Overhearing Wife’s Work Calls," The New York Times, February 25, 2024,

Matt Levine, "Honey, I Insider-Traded Your Merger," Bloomberg, February 26, 2024,

Rebecca Picciotto, "BP Exec’s Husband Guilty of Making $1.8 Million From Insider Trading, Snooped on Her Calls," CNBC, February 25, 2024,

About the Author

Geoffrey A. Hirt of DePaul University previously taught at Texas Christian University and Illinois State University, where he was chairman of the Department of Finance and Law. At DePaul, he was chairman of the Finance Department from 1987 to 1997 and held the title of Mesirow Financial Fellow. He developed the MBA program in Hong Kong and served as director of international initiatives for the College of Business, supervising overseas programs in Hong Kong, Prague, and Bahrain, and was awarded the Spirit of St. Vincent DePaul award for his contributions to the university. Dr. Hirt directed the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) study program for the Investment Analysts Society of Chicago from 1987 to 2003. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Urbino in Italy, where he still maintains a relationship with the economics department. He received his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, his MBA at Miami University of Ohio, and his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Profile Photo of Geoffrey A. Hirt