Carpenter v. United States

484 U.S. 19 (1987)


Winan was a reporter on a Wall Street Journal column called 'Heard on the Street.' The column had the potential effect of influencing stock prices because of its perceived quality and integrity. Winan made a deal with Brant and Carpenter (D) to take advantage of that potential effect. The information published in the column was only confidential to the Wall Street Journal and was not privileged information. Over a 4-month period, the parties made over $690,000. Eventually, the scheme was uncovered, and the parties were tried in court. They were eventually convicted under mail and wire fraud statutes. The Court found, and that Winans had knowingly breached a duty of confidentiality by misappropriating prepublication information which was the basis of guilt under the mail fraud statutes. Both the trial court and appeals court rejected Ds' contention that criminal liability could not be imposed on petitioners under Rule 10b-5 because 'the newspaper is the only alleged victim of fraud, and has no interest in the securities traded.'