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Press Release

Former Insider At TIAA-CREF Sentenced To 70 Months In Prison For 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 that LAWRENCE BILLIMEK was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe to 70 months in prison for engaging in a multi-year insider trading scheme resulting in tens of millions of dollars in profits.  BILLIMEK previously pled guilty to one count of securities fraud before Judge Gardephe. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: "Lawrence Billimek shamelessly abused his position, orchestrating an insider trading scheme that pocketed tens of millions in illicit gains.  Billimek thought that hiding his conduct behind burner phones and lies would shield him from detection from law enforcement.  He was mistaken.  Prosecuting white collar crimes like this sends a clear message that no one, regardless of their position, privilege, or the type of crime they commit, is outside the reach of the law.”

According to the filings 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 abused 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.  BILLIMEK bought multiple homes and funded an active social lifestyle through the proceeds of his criminal scheme. 

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In addition to a prison term, BILLIMEK, 52, of Hailey, Idaho, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay forfeiture of $12,249,000. 

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, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated May 20, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-177