A Bristol-Myers Squibb executive has been charged for insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US.

The SEC alleges that Robert D Ramnarine made over $300,000 in illegal profits by misusing non-public information he obtained while helping the drug-maker to acquire three other pharmaceutical companies, ZymoGenetics, Pharmasset and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

The co-executive used multiple personal brokerage accounts to illegally trade in stock options of these potential target companies, SEC said in a statement.

Prior to some trading, the SEC also claims that Ramnarine conducted Internet research from his work computer to determine whether he could be detected by regulators.

He searched for such phrases as "can stock option be traced to purchaser" and "illegal insider trading options trace" and viewed such articles as "Ways to Avoid Insider Trading."

Ramnarine was charged with three counts of securities fraud; each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5m fine.

The SEC filed separate civil fraud charges against Ramnarine, and seeks to recover illegal profit and to freeze the New Jerseyresident’s brokerage account assets, reports Reuters.