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Feb. 22, 2010

LAST EL PASO NATURAL GAS TRADER SENTENCED

(HOUSTON) – A former natural gas trader for El Paso Corporation has been sentenced to five years probation with six months of home detention for his role in reporting false natural gas trades in order to manipulate natural gas prices, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt handed down the sentence against Donald Guilbault, 56, of Houston, at a hearing held this morning.

Guilbault was convicted of false reporting, a violation of the Commodities Exchange Act, in October 2004 after pleading guilty to the offense. Guilbault admitted that while employed as a natural gas trader by El Paso Corporation’s Merchant Energy segment, he knowingly delivered false information about natural gas trades, including falsified volumes and prices, via e-mail to Inside FERC Gas Market Report magazine. Inside FERC was a trade publication that published index prices based on reported natural gas trades which were used to price natural gas throughout the United States and the world.

Guilbault was the last trader to be sentenced in a six-year effort to prosecute fraud in the energy trading industry that resulted in convictions of a dozen natural gas traders. As part of his probation, Guilbault will be under house arrest for six months and, for the duration of his five years of probation, Guilbault will be prohibited from employment as a natural gas trader unless he fully discloses his conviction and role in the offense for which he was convicted.

The investigation leading to charges was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Lewis and Belinda Beek prosecuted the case.

 

 

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