Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the guilty pleas of ANTHONY VIGGIANO and his co-conspirator, STEPHEN FORLANO, Jr., in connection with their participation in a scheme to commit insider trading securities fraud based on information that VIGGIANO misappropriated from two leading global financial firms while VIGGIANO was employed at the firms. VIGGIANO and FORLANO were arrested in May 2023 and pled guilty to securities fraud based on insider trading before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni. CHRISTOPHER SALAMONE previously pled guilty for his role in the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Anthony Viggiano was placed in trusted positions by not one, but two leading global financial institutions. Viggiano broke that trust repeatedly, illegally tipping Stephen Forlano, Jr., with material, confidential information. Viggiano and Forlano knew their conduct was wrong but sought to cheat the system anyway. Protecting the sanctity and integrity of the financial markets continues to be a cornerstone initiative for this Office, and we will continue to bring anyone attempting to illicitly disclose non-public information to justice.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment, other public court documents, and statements made during court proceedings:
ANTHONY VIGGIANO was employed at two different, leading global financial institutions located in New York, New York, specifically an investment management firm (“Firm-1”) and an investment bank (“Firm-2,” and together with Firm-1, the “Firms”). VIGGIANO worked as an analyst in Firm-1’s New York, New York, office between in or about April 2021 and in or about October 2021 and then worked at Firm-2 in New York, New York, as an associate in the asset management department. While working at the Firms, VIGGIANO received confidential internal communications that contained detailed information about non-public potential strategic partnerships involving Firm-1 and acquisitions involving Firm-2.
VIGGIANO attended college with FORLANO and was a childhood friend of SALAMONE. In violation of the duties that he owed to each of the Firms, VIGGIANO tipped FORLANO and SALAMONE with material, non-public information (“MNPI”) relating to the names of potential counterparties for Firm-1’s strategic partnerships and, later, information that VIGGIANO learned during his employment at Firm-2 about companies that were potential acquisition targets. After VIGGIANO started working at Firm-2, he continued tipping STEPHEN FORLANO, Jr., with MNPI that VIGGIANO obtained through his employer. In total, VIGGIANO tipped FORLANO and/or SALAMONE with inside information in advance of at least eight different transactions involving publicly traded companies.
FORLANO and SALAMONE each used MNPI provided by VIGGIANO to purchase shares in companies and to trade call options, including short-dated, out-of-the-money call options. VIGGIANO and SALAMONE agreed to split the profits from their illegal trading, which yielded total illegal profits of over approximately $300,000. FORLANO further provided this MNPI to friends and family through, among other means, a video game console’s audio chat function in order to evade detection by law enforcement. FORLANO himself illegally profited at least approximately $100,000 from the scheme.
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VIGGIANO, 26, of Baldwin, New York, and FORLANO, 27, of Tampa, Florida, each pled guilty to one count of securities fraud under Title 15, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The maximum potential penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. He also expressed appreciation for the SEC, which separately initiated civil proceedings against the defendants.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Davis and Jared Lenow are in charge of the prosecution.