People sometimes do not take insider trading all that seriously, either thinking that they're not going to get caught or assuming that they're just "bending the rules" a little bit and not actually breaking the law. They think of it the same way they think about going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit on the interstate.
This is a mistake. If you are facing allegations of insider trading, you absolutely must take them seriously and understand the substantial ramifications that you could face under federal law.
For instance, did you know that the minimum federal sentence for insider trading is 15 years? You could serve 20 or more years.
If you're acting as an individual, you could also face substantial fines. The top end for individuals is $5 million. If you were working for a business entity when the scheme took place, then the top fine is $25 million.
This is definitely not a minor issue. The government certainly does not look at it as you just bending the rules. It's illegal, and you are going to face some harsh penalties if you are convicted.
That's also why it is important to know what to do if you get accused of insider trading when you did not know that what you were doing was illegal. It may have just been a mistake, but you can see that the stakes are still very high.
No matter how it happened, you need to understand your legal defense options. A case like this could define the rest of your life, both personally and professionally.