Broward News

Boca Raton's Igor Cornelsen Will Pay $5 Million for Illegally Trading Burger King Stock (Um, He'll Have It His Way?)

Prominent Brazilian banker Igor Cornelsen, who spends half of his year in Boca Raton, will hand over $5.1 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that he had illegally traded Burger King stock, the oversight committee announced this week.

Yes, a classic case of whopper speculation gone awry. Truly an example of supersized deleveraging. HA HA HA HA. Settle in, reader, settle in.

According to the SEC report, Cornelsen -- who's barely breathing on Twitter and Facebook -- received insider information that 3G Capital would buy Burger King and catapult its stock price into the atmosphere. So he bought early and bought often. And when the acquisition was announced in mid-2010, elevating BK's stock by 43 percent, the Boca man made nearly $2 million almost instantly.

But the securities commission WOULD NOT BE DUPED. It said Cornelsen, 64, traded "on the basis of material nonpublic information" and alleged conspiracy between him and a Wells Fargo representative in Miami, Waldyr da Silva Prado Nedo -- the one who'd secreted the trading info to Cornelsen.

It began like this: On May 17, 2010, Prado sent Cornelsen an email saying, "Igor, if you are around, call me at the hotel... I have some info... You have to hear this." Prado described Cornelsen as a "big client" and said it was necessary to show "this big client you have the potential investment ideas to make a commission and have a better life."

A week later, Cornelsen started buying. He netted nearly 3,000 Burger King options right away and later in the summer added 2,000 more. At summer's end, after Burger King's sale went through, Cornelsen sent Prado an email: "Any news about the price they will pay for sandwich?"

Yes, there was news about sandwich. Other investors would pay a lot for it -- much more than Cornelsen had. And just like that, boom! Cornelsen pocketed $1.7 million.

It's unclear what Cornelsen did with the money. He didn't return our phone calls on Tuesday. But he does have a sick pad on an exclusive road called Lions Head Lane -- right down the way, coincidentally, from several people Bernie Madoff had swindled. Behold, the Home the Whopper Did Build:

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Terrence McCoy