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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 4, 2018

Four Defendants Convicted In Manhattan Federal Court For Stealing Confidential Government Information And Using It To Engage In Illegal Trading

Robert Khuzami, the Attorney for the United States, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, announced the conviction of DAVID BLASZCZAK, a political intelligence consultant, CHRISTOPHER WORRALL, a government employee at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), and THEODORE HUBER and ROBERT OLAN, two partners and analysts at Deerfield Management Company, L.P., a healthcare-focused hedge fund in New York, New York (“Deerfield”).  BLASZCZAK, WORRALL, HUBER, and OLAN were convicted yesterday after a four-week trial before United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. 

BLASZCZAK, WORRALL, HUBER, and OLAN were charged with participating in a scheme, from in or about 2009 through in or about 2014, to convert United States property, to defraud the United States, and to commit securities fraud and wire fraud for obtaining material nonpublic information from CMS and using it to execute profitable trades at Deerfield.

As part of the scheme, BLASZCZAK was charged with obtaining confidential and nonpublic information from CMS employees, including his friend, CHRISTOPHER WORRALL, who worked at CMS, and who was charged with breaching his duties as a CMS employee by providing confidential information to BLASZCZAK.  BLASZCZAK then was alleged to have provided this material nonpublic information in advance of market-moving CMS announcements to employees at Deerfield, including HUBER, OLAN, and Jordan Fogel, who allegedly recommended trades on the basis of the information.  Jordan Fogel, a former partner and analyst at Deerfield, previously pled guilty and is cooperating with the Government.  As a result of these trades, Deerfield reaped more than $7 million in profits.

BLASZCZAK was also charged in a separate scheme with obtaining confidential and nonpublic CMS information about cuts in CMS’s reimbursement rates for home health providers, and with providing that information to Christopher Plaford, a portfolio manager at Visium Asset Management, L.P., another healthcare-focused hedge fund in New York, New York (“Visium”).  Plaford then used BLASZCZAK’s information to execute trades, resulting in approximately $330,000 in profits.  Plaford has previously pled guilty to this conduct and is also cooperating with the Government. 

Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami said:  “As a unanimous jury found, these defendants schemed to get highly sensitive and confidential information from CMS, a governmental entity, and feed it to a hedge fund to make illegal profits in the stock market.  Trading on confidential nonpublic government information is just as illegal as trading on corporate insider information.  Our Office is committed to policing and prosecuting both.”           

According to the allegations in the charging documents and statements made in court proceedings:

CMS

CMS, a component of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), administers Medicare and Medicaid, among other things.  CMS is also responsible for setting Medicare reimbursement rates for healthcare providers.  CMS spends more than $1 trillion annually and pays approximately one-third of the country’s health expenditures.  Accordingly, CMS rulemaking decisions, including decisions that affect how much the federal government will pay to reimburse medical providers for services rendered, have a substantial, market-moving impact on publicly traded companies that depend on government healthcare spending. 

WORRALL began working at CMS in or about 1999.  Beginning in January 2012, WORRALL worked in the Director’s Office for the Center for Medicare (“CM”), which gave WORRALL broad access to CMS’s confidential deliberations about upcoming reimbursement decisions.  WORRALL also served as a project manager for a confidential CMS database that contained CMS’s most up-to-date claims data that CMS used to inform its decision-making. 

David Blaszczak

At all relevant times, BLASZCZAK served as a consultant at a number of Washington, D.C.-based firms that, in exchange for a fee, provided so-called “political intelligence,” which included analysis about how changes in Government reimbursement rates would affect publicly traded healthcare-related companies.  Before becoming a political intelligence consultant, BLASZCZAK worked at CMS, eventually serving as a special assistant to the CMS Administrator.  BLASZCZAK met WORRALL while the two worked at CMS. 

As a former CMS employee, BLASZCZAK was well aware of CMS’s rules governing the dissemination of nonpublic information. 

Deerfield Management Company, L.P. 

At all relevant times, Deerfield managed multiple hedge funds specializing in healthcare-related investments.  As of 2017, Deerfield had more than $7 billion in assets under management.  HUBER, OLAN, and Fogel were partners and analysts at Deerfield, where their job was to analyze investment decisions and recommend potentially profitable trades for Deerfield.  Deerfield’s compliance manual prohibited its employees from committing insider trading.  

The Scheme to Convert and Use Confidential CMS Information 

As alleged in the Indictment, from at least in or about 2009 through in or about 2014, BLASZCZAK, WORRALL, HUBER, OLAN, Fogel, and others participated in a scheme to convert to their own use confidential and material nonpublic information from CMS concerning, among other things, CMS’s internal deliberations regarding coverage and reimbursement decisions.           

During this time period, Deerfield retained BLASZCZAK as a consultant who provided political intelligence related to, among other things, the content, likelihood, and timing of CMS reimbursement decisions.  As part of the scheme, HUBER, OLAN, and Fogel encouraged BLASZCZAK to obtain confidential and material nonpublic information from CMS insiders.  As HUBER, OLAN, and Fogel knew, these CMS insiders included BLASZCZAK’s former colleagues with whom he had close personal relationships, who were prohibited from disclosing such information to CMS outsiders.

BLASZCZAK obtained material nonpublic information from his close friend and former CMS colleague WORRALL.  BLASZCZAK and WORRALL were friends since their time working together at CMS.  BLASZCZAK also frequently offered to help WORRALL find lucrative private sector employment opportunities, in exchange for WORRALL giving BLASZCZAK confidential government information.  

BLASZCZAK conveyed the information obtained from WORRALL to HUBER, OLAN, and Fogel, who – knowing that BLASZCZAK had obtained the information improperly from a CMS insider – used the information to trade.  In exchange for being provided with this inside information, HUBER, OLAN, and Fogel caused Deerfield to pay BLASZCZAK more than $800,000 in consulting fees.

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Defendants’ Ages and Residences

Defendant

Residence

Age

David Blaszczak

Isle of Palms, South Carolina

42

Christopher Worrall

Linthicum Heights, Maryland

40

Theodore Huber

Westport, Connecticut

56

Robert Olan

Rumson, New Jersey

47

Mr. Khuzami praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant United States Attorneys Ian McGinley, Joshua A. Naftalis, and Brooke E. Cucinella are in charge of the prosecution.   

Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-144
Updated May 4, 2018