Former Goldman Sachs Vice President Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To Nine Months In Prison For Fraudulently Amassing And Concealing Trading Position
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MATTHEW TAYLOR, formerly a vice president at Goldman, Sachs & Co. (“Goldman Sachs”) and a trader on Goldman Sachs’s Capital Structure Franchise Trading (“CSFT”) desk, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to nine months in prison for fraudulently amassing and concealing an approximately $8.3 billion trading position in an account that TAYLOR managed at Goldman Sachs. TAYLOR pled guilty in April 2013 to one count of wire fraud in connection with the scheme, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.
According to the Information to which TAYLOR pled guilty, and statements made in court proceedings:
While employed at Goldman Sachs as a vice president, TAYLOR was a member of the CSFT desk and was responsible for a trading account called the CSFT Equity Volatility Portfolio (the “Trading Account”), which included trading in equity derivatives products. Among the products that TAYLOR traded on the CSFT desk were Standard & Poor’s E-mini futures contracts (“S&P E-mini futures”), which are futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 stock index. TAYLOR traded in S&P E-mini futures using an electronic trading platform called “Globex.”
In November 2007, TAYLOR had lost a significant portion of the profits that he had accumulated in the Trading Account earlier that year. As a result, he was instructed by his supervisors to reduce the overall risk in the Trading Account. These supervisors had previously informed TAYLOR and other traders on the CSFT desk about risk limits for the CSFT desk and acceptable risk levels and trading limits.
Despite these instructions to reduce the risk in the Trading Account, on December 13, 2007, TAYLOR significantly increased the notional value of his long position in S&P E-mini futures by entering a series of electronic trades through Globex. In so doing, he amassed a position that far exceeded all trading and risk limits set by Goldman Sachs, not only for individual traders, but for the entire CSFT desk. TAYLOR increased the profitability of the Trading Account in order to restore his professional reputation within Goldman Sachs and to increase his performance-based compensation.
At the same time that TAYLOR increased his S&P E-mini futures position, he actively concealed this position from others at Goldman Sachs. He recorded multiple false entries for S&P E-mini futures trades that he never made in a manual trade entry system (the “Manual Trade Entry System”), which was typically intended to be used by traders for recording trades that – unlike S&P E-mini futures – could not be executed through the Globex electronic trading platform. TAYLOR recorded multiple false trading entries in the Manual Trade Entry System that were in the opposite direction of the electronic trades he made in the Trading Account. Where TAYLOR purchased S&P E-mini futures in the Trading Account via Globex, he then manually entered fictitious S&P E-mini futures sales in the Manual Trade Entry System. The purpose of entering these fabricated trades was to conceal and understate the true size of the S&P E-mini futures position within the Trading Account, as the fictitious sales functioned to offset portions of TAYLOR’s actual purchases.
In addition, at the end of the trading day on December 13, 2007, TAYLOR prepared a false profit and loss report for the Trading Account (the “December 13, 2007, P&L Report”) that served to conceal his actual oversized position and market risk. He then forwarded the December 13, 2007, P&L Report to his supervisors and others at Goldman Sachs. By the morning of December 14, 2007, however, various employees at Goldman Sachs had detected a significant discrepancy between TAYLOR’s actual position in the Trading Account and what TAYLOR had falsely reported in the December 13, 2007, P&L Report. In response to questioning from these employees, TAYLOR made various false statements about his position and risk in the Trading Account. His fraudulent scheme resulted in significant losses to Goldman Sachs.
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In addition to his prison term, TAYLOR, 34, of West Palm Beach, Florida, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $118 million in restitution.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York first learned of the Taylor matter on November 10, 2012. Less than five months later, on April 3, 2013, Taylor was charged in an Information and pled guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also thanked the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which Mr. Bharara serves as a Co-Chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Lee is in charge of the prosecution.