Former CEO and Former CFO of ArthroCare Corp. Charged with Allegedly Orchestrating a $400 Million Securities Fraud Scheme

July 17, 2013

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs on July 17, 2013 released the following:

“The former chief executive officer and former chief financial officer of ArthroCare Corp., a publicly traded medical device company based in Austin, Texas, were charged for their alleged leading roles in a $400 million scheme to defraud the company’s shareholders and members of the investing public by falsely inflating ArthroCare’s earnings by tens of millions of dollars, announced Acting Assistant Attorney Mythili Raman of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas.

A 17-count indictment was unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against Michael Baker, the former chief executive officer and director of ArthroCare, and Michael Gluk, the former chief financial officer of ArthroCare. Both defendants surrendered to authorities this morning.

The indictment, which was returned on July 16, 2013, charges Baker and Gluk with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of securities fraud; it charges Baker alone with three counts of false statements. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of assets held by Baker and Gluk.

“Truthful corporate earnings reports are critical to the soundness of our financial system,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Today’s indictment alleges that those at the top of ArthroCare deceived investors and regulators by manipulating the company’s reports to inflate its stock, ultimately causing hundreds of millions in losses in shareholder value. The Criminal Division will continue to aggressively pursue corporate executives who undermine our financial markets for personal gain.”

According to the indictment, from at least December 2005 through December 2008, Baker, Gluk and other senior executives and employees of ArthroCare allegedly falsely inflated ArthroCare’s sales and revenue through a series of end-of-quarter transactions involving several of ArthroCare’s distributors. According to court documents, Baker, Gluk and other ArthroCare employees determined the type and amount of product to be shipped to distributors based on ArthroCare’s need to meet Wall Street analyst forecasts, rather than distributors’ actual orders. Baker, Gluk and others then allegedly caused ArthroCare to “park” millions of dollars worth of ArthroCare’s medical devices at its distributors at the end of each relevant quarter. ArthroCare would then report these shipments as sales in its quarterly and annual filings at the time of the shipment, enabling the company to meet or exceed internal and external earnings forecasts.

The indictment alleges that ArthroCare’s distributors agreed to accept shipment of millions of dollars of product in exchange for substantial, upfront cash commissions, extended payment terms and the ability to return product, as well as other special conditions, allowing ArthroCare to falsely inflate its revenue by tens of millions of dollars.

Baker, Gluk and others allegedly used DiscoCare, a privately owned Delaware corporation, as one of the distributors to cover shortfalls in ArthroCare’s revenue. According to the indictment, at Baker and Gluk’s direction, ArthroCare shipped product to DiscoCare that far exceeded DiscoCare’s needs.

In addition, Baker, Gluk and others allegedly lied to investors and analysts about ArthroCare’s relationships with its distributors, including its largest distributor, DiscoCare. According to the indictment, Baker and Gluk caused ArthroCare to acquire DiscoCare specifically to conceal from the investing public the nature and financial significance of ArthroCare’s relationship with DiscoCare.

The indictment further alleges that when Baker was deposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the DiscoCare relationship in November 2009, he lied again on multiple occasions.

According to court documents, between December 2005 and December 2008, ArthroCare’s shareholders held more than 25 million shares of ArthroCare stock. On July 21, 2008, after ArthroCare announced publicly that it would be restating its previously reported financial results from the third quarter 2006 through the first quarter 2008 to reflect the results of an internal investigation, the price of ArthroCare shares dropped from $40.03 to $23.21 per share. The drop in ArthroCare’s share price caused an immediate loss in shareholder value of more than $400 million.

If convicted, Baker and Gluk would face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years for the conspiracy charge, 20 years for each count of wire fraud, and 25 years for each securities fraud count. Baker faces five years for each count of false statements.

An indictment is merely a charge, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Austin office. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys Henry P. Van Dyck and William Chang of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The Department recognizes the substantial assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former Corporate Officers of China North East Petroleum Holdings Limited (CNEP) Charged with Alleged Fraud and False Statements

May 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“WASHINGTON—The former president and CEO and the former vice president of corporate finance of China North East Petroleum Holdings Limited (CNEP), an oil and gas company whose stock is traded in the United States, have been charged with defrauding investors in connection with public offerings of stock.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos of the FBI’s New York Field Office; and Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Wang Hongjun, 41, and Chao Jiang, 32, both Chinese citizens residing in California and New York, respectively, were indicted on May 23, 2013, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and four counts of securities fraud, which each carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Jiang is also charged with two counts of false statements to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during sworn testimony, which each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The indictment was made public today.

According to the indictment, Hongjun served as the president and CEO of CNEP from 2009 to 2010 and as the chairman of the Board of Directors beginning in 2010. Jiang served as the vice president of corporate finance and corporate secretary of CNEP from 2008 until approximately 2011. The charges allege that in June of 2009, CNEP registered a shelf offering with the SEC proposing to sell up to $40 million of CNEP common stock in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange. In September and December 2009, CNEP made two separate offerings pursuant to the June registration. In documents filed with the SEC related to the offerings, and in other public statements to investors, Hongjun and Jiang informed investors that CNEP intended to use the funds raised from the securities offerings for general corporate purposes and to repay a prior corporate debt.

The indictment alleges that, instead of using the offering proceeds as represented to CNEP’s investors, Hongjun and Jiang misappropriated approximately $1,265,000 of the proceeds by wiring the money to bank accounts in the name of their family members—approximately $965,000 to Jiang’s father and approximately $300,000 to Hongjun’s wife—which was used, in part, to purchase a home in California, jewelry, and a Mercedes-Benz.

In addition, the indictment alleges that Jiang testified falsely under oath to the SEC in Washington, D.C., about these transactions. In that testimony, Jiang stated that none of his family members had received anything of value over $500 from CNEP, despite having wired $965,000 from CNEP’s bank account to the account of his father. Jiang also testified falsely regarding the use of proceeds from the securities offerings.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

In a related action, the SEC had previously filed a civil enforcement action against Hongjun, Jiang, and others in the Southern District of New York.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office and IRS-CI. The Department wishes to thank the SEC for its significant assistance in this case. The investigation is continuing.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel Kahn and Kevin Muhlendorf of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson for the District of Columbia.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Australian Citizen and Former Research Analyst Charged with Alleged Insider Trading

December 27, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 26, 2012 released the following:

Australian Charged in Addition to Two Stockbrokers Already Arrested for Trading on Inside Information Relating to IBM’s Acquisition of SPSS in 2009

NEW YORK— Trent Martin, a citizen of Australia and a former research analyst at an international financial services firm, was charged today for his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme with Thomas C. Conradt and David J. Weishaus, two stockbrokers who were arrested for the same offenses on November 29, 2012, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI George Venizelos. Martin, Conradt, Weishaus, and their co-conspirators allegedly traded on the basis of material, non-public information concerning IBM’s acquisition of a software company, SPSS Inc., in 2009, earning in the aggregate more than $1 million in profits. The case against Martin, Conradt, and Weishaus is assigned to U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr.

Martin was arrested on December 22, 2012 in Hong Kong following a request from the United States. Following their earlier arrests in the United States, Conradt and Weishaus pleaded not guilty on December 7, 2012 and are scheduled to appear next before Judge Carter on January 18, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

The following allegations are based on the superseding indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

The inside information concerning IBM’s acquisition of SPSS allegedly originated from a corporate lawyer (Attorney-1) who was part of the legal team that represented IBM in the transaction in 2009. On May 31, 2009, Attorney-1 shared inside information concerning the transaction—including the names of the parties and the fact that IBM was going to acquire SPSS for a significant premium over SPSS’s market price—with his close friend, Trent Martin. The information was shared in confidence. Based on their longstanding history of sharing confidences, among other things, Attorney-1 expected that Martin would not share the information or use it to trade.

In June 2009, however, Martin bought SPSS common stock based on the inside information he was given by Attorney-1 and, in turn, shared the tip with his roommate, Conradt, who worked as a stockbroker at a securities trading firm (Securities Trading Firm-1). Conradt then bought SPSS common stock and tipped Weishaus, his co-worker at Securities Trading Firm-1. On June 24, 2009, Weishaus started buying call option contracts in SPSS. In addition, Conradt and Weishaus tipped their co-workers at Securities Trading Firm-1 (CC-1 and CC-2), who also bought SPSS call option contracts in June and July 2009 based on the inside information.

In instant messages exchanged in July 2009, Conradt and Weishaus discussed their insider trading scheme and the fact that their information came from Martin. For example, on July 1, 2009, Weishaus wrote to Conradt, “somebody is buying spss . . . we should get [CC-1] to buy a f***load [of SPSS shares] . . . .” Conradt responded, “jesus don’t tell anyone else . . . we gotta keep this in the family.” Weishaus answered, “dude, no way. i dont want to go to jail f*** that . . . martha stewart spent 5 months in the slammer . . . and they tried to f*** the mavericks owner.” Later that same day, Weishaus wrote to Conradt, “jesus, we need spss to run up i need that lexus.”

On July 10, 2009, Weishaus wrote to Conradt, “we need some turn around on spss.” Conradt responded, referring to Trent Martin by name: “[Y]eah i called trent, gonna get more details tonight he was at work, couldn’t talk[.]”

In another instant message exchange, on July 23, 2009, Conradt asked Weishaus to buy SPSS call options for Conradt, but Weishaus declined. In response, Conradt wrote, “wtf, i’m setting this deal up for everyone . . . makin everyone rich.” Weishaus responded, “[Another individual] is gonna put in 50k sept options.” Conradt then wrote, again referring to Trent Martin by name, “holy f*** . . . god trent told me not to tell anyone . . . big mistake.” Weishaus responded, “eh, we’ll get rich.”

That same day, Martin told Attorney-1 that he had purchased SPSS common stock and call options on the basis of the inside information that Attorney-1 had disclosed to Martin at their brunch on or about May 31, 2009.

When IBM announced its acquisition of SPSS on July 28, 2009, the share price of SPSS common stock rose by 41 percent in one day, from the prior day’s closing price of $35.09 per share to a closing price of $49.45 per share. Thereafter, Martin, Conradt, Weishaus, CC-1 and CC-2 sold their SPSS positions, yielding profits of $7,900, $2,538, $129,290, $629,954 and $254,360, respectively, for a total profit in excess of $1 million.

In the fall of 2010, after the SEC had begun investigating insider trading in SPSS, Martin told Attorney-1 that he had profited approximately $8,000 from the inside information concerning IBM’s acquisition of SPSS and had disclosed it to his roommate, Conradt, before the transaction was publicly announced. Martin also told Attorney-1 that Martin believed Conradt had taken a large position in SPSS before the announcement and had, in turn, shared the inside information with others. Martin further stated to Attorney-1 that he was returning to Australia in light of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and that he knew that insider trading can result in jail sentences, referring to the criminal prosecution of Martha Stewart.

* * *

Martin, 33, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. Count one, the conspiracy charge, carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Count two, the securities fraud charge, carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million.

U.S. Attorney Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and thanked authorities in Hong Kong who are providing assistance with this case. He also thanked the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. Mr. Bharara noted that the investigation is continuing.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which Mr. Bharara serves as a co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Zach and David B. Massey are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Prosecutors rest fraud case against alleged Indy financier

June 19, 2012

The Herald Bulletin on June 19, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal prosecutors wrapped up their case Monday against a prominent Indianapolis businessman who they say bilked investors out of $200 million, much of it life savings.

For the past week, prosecutors have presented evidence against Tim Durham, business partner James F. Cochran and accountant Rick D. Snow. The men are accused of raiding the Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. and allegedly used a Ponzi scheme to steal the savings from about 5,000 mostly elderly investors. They are charged with 12 felony counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud.

One of them, Donald Russell of Doylestown, Ohio, testified that he lost $350,000, and his 82-year-old mother lost $125,000 and died a month later. He said he believes the stress of losing her life savings pushed her over the edge.

“They have no hearts or souls,” Russell said of Durham and his partners.

Defense attorney John Tompkins said Durham is innocent, but told The Indianapolis Star that he feels sorry for Russell.

“I don’t think that there are any words that could begin to address the situation that he faces,” Tompkins said. “He had a horrible circumstance, and words cannot console him.”

Prosecutors presented analyses of forensic accountants that showed money from Fair Finance being used to help pay for an expensive Playboy party, Durham’s classic cars and trips to luxury resorts and casinos.

Donald Fair, who sold his company to Durham and Cochran in 2002, testified that the men loaned investors’ money to themselves and their businesses and never repaid it.

Prosecutors played recorded phone calls in which Durham and Cochran allegedly made up excuses to give investors about why their interest checks had stopped and they couldn’t cash in. The men tried to persuade Ohio regulators to allow them to sell another $250 million in investment certificates, prosecutors said, and took cash deposits from investors to whom they promised to issue more investment certificates later.

Cochran doubted regulators would shut down the company, according to recordings played in court.

“If they’re gonna blow us up, we’re gonna blow them up,” Cochran allegedly said in a phone call with Durham on Nov. 13, 2009. “I mean nobody wins and everybody loses, but we lose the worst. … I mean it would be a catastrophic event in the state of Ohio. And I’m sure they don’t want that kind of headline.”

Prosecutors presented emails and recordings in which the men discussed layoffs, selling off assets and other ways to cut costs or conceal the loans, yet Cochran also asked to raise his salary to $1 million a year.

In the weeks before an FBI raid shut down Fair Finance in November 2009, prosecutors said Monday, Durham and his partners transferred $85 million from the parent company, DC Investments, to Fair’s books to show more assets on the company’s balance sheet, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

Defense attorneys are expected to present their case Tuesday morning, and closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday.

Attorneys for Cochran and Snow have declined to talk about the trial, and Tompkins refused to discuss his defense strategy. He said he didn’t know if Durham would testify in his own defense.

“That will be his decision, but I will advise him,” Tompkins said. “We haven’t had our discussion.””

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former Corporate Chairman of Consulting Firm and Board of Director Rajat Gupta Found Guilty of Insider Trading in Manhattan Federal Court

June 15, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 15, 2012 released the following:

“Gupta Convicted on Four Counts Arising from an Insider Trading Scheme in which He Provided Confidential Information About Goldman Sachs to His Business Partner and Friend, Raj Rajaratnam

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District announced that Rajat K. Gupta, former corporate chairman of an international consulting firm and a member of the Boards of Directors of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”) and the Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), was found guilty today by a jury in Manhattan federal court of conspiracy and securities fraud crimes stemming from his involvement in an insider trading scheme with his business partner and friend, Raj Rajaratnam, the founder and former head of the Galleon Group.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “Rajat Gupta once stood at the apex of the international business community. Today, he stands convicted of securities fraud. He achieved remarkable success and stature, but he threw it all away. Having fallen from respected insider to convicted inside trader, Mr. Gupta has now exchanged the lofty board room for the prospect of a lowly jail cell. Violating clear and sacrosanct duties of confidentiality, Mr. Gupta illegally provided a virtual open line into the board room for his benefactor and business partner, Raj Rajaratnam.

“Almost two years ago, we said that insider trading is rampant, and today’s conviction puts that claim into stark relief. It bears repeating that, in coordination with our extraordinary partners at the FBI, we will continue to pursue those who violate the securities laws, regardless of status, wealth, or influence. I thank the members of the jury for their time, attention, and service, and the dedicated career prosecutors from my office who so ably tried this case.”

According to the superseding indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, other court documents, statements made at trial, and court proceedings:

During all relevant times, Gupta and Rajaratnam maintained a close personal and business relationship. Among other things, Gupta described Rajaratnam as a close friend; Gupta invested his money in Galleon funds while he served as chairman of the international consulting firm; Gupta co-owned a fund of funds with Rajaratnam, which invested its money in Galleon funds; Gupta served as chairman of a $1.5 billion private equity firm called NSR in which Rajaratnam invested approximately $50 million and served on the investment committee; and Gupta was given the position of Chairman of Galleon International in 2008 and expected to receive 15 percent of that fund’s performance fees.

From 2007 through January 2009, Gupta repeatedly disclosed material, non-public information (“inside information”) that he acquired in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs, with the understanding that Rajaratnam would use the inside information to purchase and sell securities. Rajaratnam, in turn, caused the execution of transactions in the securities of Goldman Sachs on the basis of the inside information and shared the inside information with others at Galleon, thereby earning illegal profits, and illegally avoiding losses, of millions of dollars. On separate occasions that were proven at trial, Gupta gave Rajaratnam inside information that included highly sensitive and secret information. Illegal tips that were proven at trial include the following:

The September 23, 2008 Goldman Sachs Tip

The evidence at trial proved that, on September 23, 2008, within approximately 60 seconds after the conclusion of a Goldman Sachs telephonic board meeting in which the Board approved a $5 billion investment by Berkshire Hathaway, Gupta spoke with Rajaratnam. Immediately following the call, Rajaratnam directed two separate traders to purchase approximately $43 million of Goldman Sachs stock within minutes before the close of trading. During two court-authorized wiretapped conversations the following morning on September 24, 2008 between Rajaratnam and his principal trader and coconspirator, Ian Horowitz, Rajaratnam said that he received a call at 3:58 p.m. the day before telling him “something good’s gonna happen” at Goldman Sachs, that he directed the two traders to buy Goldman shares before the market closed, and that he could not yell this information out on Galleon’s trading floor. The evidence at trial showed that, based on Gupta’s illegal tip, Rajaratnam and co-conspirator Gary Rosenbach earned over $1 million in illegal profits.

The October 23, 2008 Goldman Sachs Tip

The evidence at trial proved that, on October 23, 2008, Gupta participated on a Goldman Sachs Board posting call during which he learned that Goldman Sachs was losing money for the quarter, which Goldman Sachs had never done since becoming a public company. Just 23 seconds after that call ended, Gupta called Rajaratnam. Following that call, at the first available opportunity after the stock market reopened, Rajaratnam started to sell his entire holdings in Goldman Sachs stock. Later that day, during a court-authorized wiretapped conversation, Rajaratnam explained to a senior portfolio manager at Galleon International that Rajaratnam had spoken with a member of the Board of Goldman Sachs and learned that Goldman Sachs was losing money during the quarter while Wall Street analysts expected the company to make money. The evidence at trial showed that, based on Gupta’s illegal tip, Rajaratnam was able to avoid losses of several million dollars.

* * *

Gupta, 63, of Westport, Connecticut, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and three counts of securities fraud. He was acquitted on two securities fraud counts. The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Each of the securities fraud counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million. Gupta will be sentenced on October 18, 2012.

Rajaratnam was convicted in a jury trial on May 11, 2011 of 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. He was sentenced on October 13, 2011 to 11 years in prison and was ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount of $53,816,434 and a $10 million fine.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI. He also thanked the SEC for its assistance in the investigation.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which U.S. Attorney Bharara serves as a co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reed Brodsky and Richard C. Tarlowe are in charge of the prosecution.

– Statement by FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk on Gupta’s conviction”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


U.S. appeals sentence of Michael Peppel, former MCSi executive

March 30, 2012

Dayton Daily News on March 29, 2012 released the following:

“By John Nolan, Staff Writer

Federal prosecutors are challenging the seven-day jail sentence given last year to Michael E. Peppel, former top executive of MCSi Inc., for his guilty pleas to felony crimes related to the company’s 2003 collapse and insolvency.

Peppel’s sentence failed to reflect the seriousness of his offenses, provide just punishment, promote respect for the law or send a message of deterrence for those who would commit similar crimes, U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart argued in his written arguments filed with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

Stewart asked the Cincinnati-based appeals court to throw out the seven-day punishment and order resentencing by U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith, who sentenced Peppel on Oct. 24. Prosecutors in Ohio filed an initial notice in November of their intent to appeal, but didn’t go ahead until now after obtaining approval from the U.S. solicitor general’s office in Washington.

Peppel was also fined the legal maximum of $5 million, must disclose his criminal record to all employers, must submit to random drug testing and must do community service, according to his sentencing terms. He has already served his seven days behind bars.

His lawyer, Ralph Kohnen, said the defense will fight efforts to impose a longer term of incarceration on Peppel, who was MCSi’s president and chief executive officer.

“The government’s decision was unfortunate,” Kohnen said Thursday. “Judge Beckwith’s sentence was thoughtful and appropriate. Her sentence was just, proper and fair.”

Under a court-approved agreement that took effect this month, Peppel has committed to pay $3,000 per month toward his $5 million fine. At that rate, it would take him 50 years to pay $1.8 million of the fine and 100 years to have paid $3.6 million of it.

Peppel, 44, avoided trial in August 2010 by pleading guilty to willful false certification of a financial report by a corporate officer; money laundering, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He could have faced up to 50 years in prison.

The government said his crimes helped sink MCSi, a Kettering-based computer and audiovisual equipment company. Its failure cost 1,300 employees their jobs, benefits and retirement income and left investors holding worthless stock.

Beckwith initially determined that, under federal sentencing guidelines, a prison term for Peppel of eight to 10 years would be appropriate.

But after the defense presented 113 letters of support from Peppel’s family and friends, and argued that he had already been publicly humiliated and agreed to a lifetime ban on his ever serving again as a corporate chief executive, the judge imposed the seven-day jail term. Beckwith said she does not believe Peppel is likely to repeat his crimes and does not represent a threat to the public.

The defense will be allowed to respond to the government’s appeal, and the government can file a counter-response, before the appeals court schedules oral arguments.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


A Charlotte Federal Grand Jury Indicted Four in an Alleged $40 Million Ponzi Scheme

February 24, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 23, 2012 released the following:

“Four Hedge Fund Managers Indicted in $40 Million Ponzi Scheme

Defendants Join Seven Others and CommunityONE Bank Charged in Connection with the Scheme

CHARLOTTE, NC—A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte returned an indictment against Jonathan D. Davey, 47, of Newark, Ohio, Jeffrey M. Toft, 49, of Oviedo, Fla., Chad A. Sloat, 33, of Kansas City, Mo., and Michael J. Murphy, 51, of Deep Haven, Minn., on February 22, 2012, on four criminal charges relating to an investment fraud conspiracy, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Joining U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement are Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI).

According to the criminal indictment, the defendants operated “hedge funds” as part of a conspiracy that took in $40 million from victims for a Ponzi scheme operating under the name Black Diamond Capital Solutions (Black Diamond). The indictment alleges that the conspiracy lasted from about October 2007 through about April 2010. The indictment alleges that the defendants lied to get money from their victims by claiming, among other things, that they had done due diligence on Black Diamond and were operating legitimate hedge funds with significant safeguards, when in reality, neither claim was true. The indictment also alleges that, as Black Diamond began collapsing, the defendants and others created a new Ponzi scheme and with a separate Ponzi account that Davey administered. Thereafter, new victim money was deposited into the Ponzi account and used to make Ponzi payments to other victims and to fund the defendants’ lifestyles.

The indictment also charges Davey with tax evasion for claiming to the IRS on his 2008 tax return that $810,000 that Davey stole from victims was a “loan.” In reality, the indictment charges, Davey stole that $810,000, plus approximately $500,000 in 2009, from victims to build Davey’s personal mansion. Davey attempted to evade the taxes due and owing in 2008 by calling the money a “loan” from his investors to “Sovereign Grace, Inc.,” a Belizian corporation that Davey created as a diversion for his victims and the IRS.

The first charge against all four defendants, alleging conspiracy to commit securities fraud, carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The second charge against all four defendants, alleging conspiracy to commit wire fraud, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The third charge against all four defendants, alleging a money laundering conspiracy, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of criminally derived proceeds. The final charge against Davey only, alleging tax evasion, carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

The defendants will be making their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in the coming weeks.

This indictment follows a series of convictions and other charges in this matter. On December 16, 2010, Keith Simmons was convicted following a jury trial of securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Simmons is in custody awaiting sentencing.

On April 27, 2011, a criminal bill of information and a Deferred Prosecution Agreement were filed against CommunityONE Bank, N.A., for its failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. As alleged in that bill of information, Simmons was a customer of CommunityONE, and used various accounts with the Bank in furtherance of the Ponzi scheme. However, as alleged in that bill of information, the Bank did not file any suspicious activity reports on Simmons, despite the hundreds of suspicious transactions that took place in his accounts.

Other defendants convicted in this case are set forth below. It should be noted that those defendants already sentenced had their sentences reduced by the Court to reflect their cooperation with the United States in its investigation and prosecution of others.

  • Bryan Keith Coats, 51, of Clayton, N.C., pled guilty on October 24, 2011, to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Coats is awaiting sentencing.
  • Deanna Ray Salazar, 54, of Yucca Valley, Calif., pled guilty on December 7, 2010, to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tax evasion. Salazar is awaiting sentencing.
  • Jeffrey M. Muyres, 36, of Matthews, N.C., pled guilty on May 17, 2011, to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Muyres was sentenced to 23 months’ imprisonment by Chief Judge Robert Conrad, Jr., on January 18, 2012.
  • Roy E. Scarboro, 47, of Archdale, N.C., pled guilty on December 3, 2010, to securities fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to the FBI. Scarboro was sentenced to 26 months’ imprisonment by Chief Judge Robert Conrad, Jr., on May 4, 2011.
  • James D. Jordan, 49, of El Paso, Texas, pled guilty on September 14, 2010, to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Jordan was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment by Chief Judge Robert Conrad, Jr., on June 29, 2011.
  • Stephen D. Lacy, 52, of Pawleys Island, S.C., pled guilty on December 9, 2010, to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Lacy was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment by Chief Judge Robert Conrad, Jr., on May 4, 2011.

The details contained in this indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The conviction or guilty plea of any other person is not evidence of the guilt of any of the defendants.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kurt W. Meyers and Mark T. Odulio of the Western District of North Carolina, and the case against Jeffrey Muyres was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark T. Odulio. The investigation is being handled by the FBI and the IRS.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.