Former Investment Banker Pleads Guilty To Insider Trading
Audrey Strauss, Attorney for the United States acting under authority conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, announced that BRYAN COHEN, a former investment banker based in New York, pled guilty today to conspiring to commit securities fraud. COHEN’s plea stems from stealing material, nonpublic information (“MNPI”) from the investment bank where he worked and passing it to a securities trader based in Switzerland.
COHEN was arrested on October 18, 2019, and pled guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman. COHEN’s case is assigned to United States District Judge William H. Pauley III.
According to the Superseding Indictment and statements made in open court:
COHEN was an investment banker working in the investment banking division of a global investment banking advisory firm (“Investment Bank A”). By virtue of his employment at Investment Bank A, COHEN had access to MNPI relating to corporate transactions, and was under duties and obligations to keep that MNPI strictly confidential. COHEN previously worked in the London office of Investment Bank A, and later transferred to its New York office.
Notwithstanding his duties to keep the MNPI confidential, between 2015 and 2017, COHEN stole MNPI from Investment Bank A and passed it to a securities trader based in Switzerland in order to enable the securities trader to place timely, profitable trades based on the MNPI. COHEN informed the securities trader about corporate acquisitions and provided updates about how the deals were progressing over time. Some of the inside information that COHEN provided related to companies whose securities were listed on United States exchanges. The information that COHEN provided ultimately resulted in substantial profits for the traders who received it and traded based on it. In exchange for providing MNPI he stole from Investment Bank A, COHEN received benefits, including cash, from the securities trader.
COHEN took steps to conceal his scheme, including communicating through prepaid, “burner” cellphones, which he picked up at a Manhattan business, and receiving cash in person and through intermediaries.
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COHEN, 33, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit securities fraud. This charge carries a maximum term of five 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.
Ms. Strauss praised the work of the FBI. She further thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its cooperation and assistance in this investigation. She added that the FBI’s investigation was ongoing.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Cooper, Daniel Tracer, and Drew Skinner are in charge of the prosecution.