CHICAGO - A former executive at a major Minnesota-based fitness firm and eight others are accused in a new federal indictment of using insider information to scoop up stocks before word of the company's sale in 2015 pushed share prices higher.

A Friday statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago says the suspects made nearly $900,000 in illegal profits buying shares in Life Time Fitness Inc. earlier in 2015.

Its vice president for corporate sales at that time, Shane Fleming, allegedly passed the insider tip to a friend, identified in the indictment as Bret Beshey. Beshey then told his girlfriend, Chasity Clark, and other friends -- Austin Mansur, Eric Weller, Alex Carlucci, Dimitri Kandalepas and Christopher Bonvissuto.

According to the documents, Fleming learned Life Time Fitness Inc. was in private discussions with two private equity firms concerning its acquisition on Feb. 23, 2015 -- and learned that sale would increase Life Time's stock price to at least $65 per share.

The share price soared from around $58 to around $70 within just days in March 2015 after a newspaper first reported the company's pending sale.

Fleming has not worked for the company in the past year, according to Life Time Fitness Inc. officials.

Messages seeking comment from Fleming were not returned.