The SEC said that Arnold McClellan and his wife Annabel leaked information about at least seven confidential acquisitions by Deloitte clients to family members in London. The couple lives in San Francisco.
Annabel's brother-in-law then took positions in companies that were the targets of acquisitions, earning $3 million of profits, according to the SEC.
"The McClellans might have thought that they could conceal their illegal scheme by having close relatives make illegal trades offshore. They were wrong," said Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement.
McClellan allegedly leaked information on transactions including the 2008 purchase of Getty Images Inc by a private equity firm.
The SEC's complaint against the McClellans seeks fines and disgorgement of illicit profits.