Manhattan U.S. Attorney And FBI Assistant Director-In-Charge Announce Guilty Plea Of Bank Employee To Insider Trading Charges
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that DAVID POST pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and three counts of securities fraud in connection with an insider trading scheme in which POST received material, nonpublic information from a co-conspirator (“CC-1”) who worked for a pharmaceutical company (the “Pharma Company”). POST then made profitable securities trades based on the information provided by CC-1 and reaped over $700,000 in profits. The information concerned potential and actual corporate transactions, including acquisitions. POST pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.
In a separate action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced civil charges against POST.
According to the Information and statements made at today’s plea proceeding in Manhattan federal court:
From at least 2010 through August 2014, POST engaged in an insider trading scheme involving trading around information related to the acquisitions of certain pharmaceutical companies. POST received material, nonpublic information related to potential acquisitions from CC-1, who was a Senior Finance Analyst in the Financial Evaluation and Analysis Group of the Pharma Company. POST and CC-1 communicated with each other via disposable cellphone to disguise their communications. As part of his employment, CC-1 performed work in connection with numerous potential and actual corporate transactions, including acquisitions. CC-1 also had access to a computer directory maintained by the Pharma Company which contained material, nonpublic information related to potential acquisitions by the Pharma Company.
POST on multiple occasions received from CC-1 material, nonpublic information related to future acquisitions by the Pharma Company, including the identities of companies that were in negotiations with the Pharma Company for potential acquisitions (the “Target Companies”). POST then traded in the securities of the Target Companies. The Target Companies were subsequently acquired, in one instance by the Pharma Company, and the prices of the shares of the Target Companies increased after the acquisitions were announced publicly. POST then sold his positions in the shares of the Target Companies, thereby profiting from the movement in stock price. From this illegal trading, POST earned profits in excess of $737,000. POST gave approximately $57,000, in cash, of his illegal proceeds to CC-1, as part of CC-1’s share of the scheme’s profits.
POST, 42, of Livingston, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and three counts of securities fraud. The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The three counts of securities fraud each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. POST also faces a maximum fine of $5,000,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense on the conspiracy count, and agreed as part of his plea agreement to forfeit the proceeds he obtained as a result of the offenses. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. POST is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Hellerstein on February 6, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI. He also thanked the SEC for its assistance.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Masella and Edward Kim are in charge of the prosecution.