Recidivist Fraudster Sentenced To 212 Months In Prison In Connection With $40 Million Ponzi Scheme And Other Frauds
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that PUNEET DIKSHIT, a former partner in a global management consulting firm (the “Consulting Firm”), pled guilty to one count of securities fraud in connection with his scheme to commit insider trading based on material, nonpublic information regarding the upcoming public announcement that an investment bank (the “Investment Bank”) – which DIKSHIT and the Consulting Firm were advising – would be acquiring GreenSky, Inc. (“GreenSky”). The defendant pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Barely a month after he was charged, Puneet Dikshit admitted in court today that he used his access to material nonpublic information about a pending acquisition of GreenSky, Inc., to trade in GreenSky call options. This conduct, which netted the defendant nearly half a million dollars in tainted profits, broke the law and violated the defendant’s duties to his firm and its client. Now Puneet Dikshit awaits sentencing for his admitted crime.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint, Information, and statements made in public court proceedings:
GreenSky was a publicly traded financial technology company that provided technology to banks and merchants to make loans to consumers for home improvement, solar, healthcare, and other purposes. GreenSky’s common stock traded under the symbol “GSKY” on the NASDAQ.
Between on or about November 2019 and on or about July 2020, and again between on or about April 2021 and on or about September 2021, the Investment Bank engaged the Consulting Firm to provide various consulting services related to its consideration of an acquisition of GreenSky and the post-acquisition integration of GreenSky. DIKSHIT was one of the Consulting Firm partners leading these engagements. In that role, he had access to material nonpublic information, which he misappropriated and, in violation of the duties that he owed to the Investment Bank and the Consulting Firm, used to trade GreenSky call options.
DIKSHIT engaged in this trading between on or about July 26, 2021, and on or about September 15, 2021 – at the same time he was leading the Consulting Firm team that was advising the Investment Bank about its potential acquisition of GreenSky. At various times between on or about July 26, 2021, and on or about September 13, 2021, DIKSHIT purchased and sold relatively small numbers of GreenSky call options, which had expiration dates weeks or months from the time of purchase. However, in the two days before the September 15, 2021, public announcement that the Investment Bank would be acquiring GreenSky, DIKSHIT sold all of these longer-dated GreenSky call options and purchased approximately 2,500 out-of-the-money GreenSky call options that were due to expire just a few days later, on September 17, 2021. After the deal to purchase GreenSky was announced, DIKSHIT sold these options and realized profits of approximately $450,000.
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DIKSHIT, 40, of New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. DIKSHIT is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge McMahon on March 30, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Williams further thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance and cooperation in this investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua A. Naftalis and Matthew Podolsky are in charge of the prosecution.