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Former Netflix engineer, friend sentenced in insider trading scheme

The group illegally made more than $3 million using non-public data about subscriber growth — a key metric that influenced stock price.
Netflix's office building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles on April 19, 2021.
Netflix's office building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles on April 19, 2021.Bing Guan / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

A former Netflix software engineer and his friend were sentenced to prison Friday in an insider-trading scheme that relied on subscriber data to make more than $3 million, federal prosecutors in Seattle said.

The former software engineer, Sung Mo Jun, 49, was sentenced to two years in prison and his friend, Junwoo Chon, 50, was sentenced to one year and two months in prison. They both pleaded guilty in August.

Two other people — Jun’s brother and a different Netflix software engineer — were also involved and have pleaded guilty in the case.

U.S. attorney Nick Brown said that Jun and Chon both had well-paying jobs but "greed drove them to break the law to increase their own wealth, at the expense of others."

When Jun was a software engineer for Netflix, he gave Netflix subscriber data to Chon and his brother, Joon Jun, prosecutors said. Those two men would then make money buying and selling Netflix securities, giving the software engineer a cut.

Sung Mo Jun left Netflix in 2017 but a Netflix engineer whom he had mentored, Ayden Lee, gave him inside subscriber information after he left, according to court documents.

This time, Sung Mo Jun began making his own trades as well as sharing the information with his brother and Chon, he admitted in a plea agreement.

They bought call options right before Netflix announced earnings and subscriber information, court documents say.

Subscriber growth is a key metric that influences stock price, the documents say.

Attorneys for the Sung Mo Jun and Chon, the two men sentenced Friday, were not immediately returned Friday night.

Joon Jun and Lee have also pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced next year, prosecutors said.