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Press Release

Former Insider At Major Financial Services Organization Admits Involvement In Multimillion-Dollar Insider Trading Ring

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the guilty plea of LAWRENCE BILLIMEK in connection with his participation in a multimillion-dollar insider trading scheme.  BILLIMEK was arrested in December 2022 and pled guilty to securities fraud based on insider trading before U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “For more than five years, Lawrence Billimek abused his trusted position in a major financial services organization to illicitly generate tens of millions of dollars in profits through insider trading.  Billimek knew his actions were wrong, using burner phones and lies to try to cover his scheme, but he continued to undermine the integrity of the market anyway.  Insider trading is a serious crime, and Billimek now faces substantial prison time.”

As alleged in the Indictment and statements made during court proceedings:

Through his employment at TIAA-CREF, BILLIMEK had advance access to certain of TIAA-CREF’s anticipated trades.  Due to the size of certain of these TIAA-CREF trade orders, they often caused market movement in the securities they traded.  From at least 2016 through his arrest in December 2022, BILLIMEK misused his insider access and provided inside information about these trades to his co-conspirator (“CC-1”) who then bought or sold the same securities in advance of the TIAA-CREF trading.  CC-1 then provided BILLIMEK with a portion of the profits on these trades. 

BILLIMEK and CC-1 engaged in these front-running trades on over a thousand occasions between in or about 2016 and December 2022.  In an effort to hide their scheme, BILLIMEK used prepaid, unregistered “burner” phones to communicate with CC-1 throughout the trading day.  BILLIMEK and CC-1 also lied to various financial institutions about the source of funds they received during the scheme, claiming that they were, among other things, gifts.  In total, BILLIMEK and CC-1 generated tens of millions of dollars in profits. 

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BILLIMEK, 52, of Hailey, Idaho, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  BILLIMEK will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Mr. Williams also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which has filed a parallel civil action.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason A. Richman is in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated November 28, 2023

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-406