DEFENDANTS IN SEC CASE INVOLVING LOANS TO PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES SENTENCED CRIMINALLY

U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Litigation Release No. 23768 / March 3, 2017

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Capital Financial Partners, LLC et al., No. 15-cv-11447-IT (D. Mass. filed Apr. 7, 2015)

United States of America v. Will D. Allen and Susan C. Daub, No. 15-cr-10181 (D. Mass. filed June 15, 2015)

Defendants in SEC Case Involving Loans to Professional Athletes Sentenced Criminally

On March 1, 2017, William D. Allen and Susan C. Daub, both defendants in a parallel SEC enforcement action, were each sentenced to six years imprisonment and ordered to pay $16.8 million in restitution for their role in an investment scheme involving fraudulent loans to professional athletes.

Allen and Daub were arrested in June 2015 on criminal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and charging a money transaction in connection with specified unlawful activity. The criminal complaint against Allen and Daub alleged that they collected funds from investors for certain fictitious or oversubscribed loans to professional athletes and created the false impression that athletes were repaying certain fictitious or oversubscribed loans on schedule by making scheduled monthly payments to investors from new investor funds. They pled guilty to the criminal charges in November 2016.

In the SEC’s parallel enforcement action, filed in federal court in April 2015, the SEC’s complaint alleges that Allen and Daub, and three corporate entities they owned or controlled – Florida-based Capital Financial Partners Enterprises LLC, and Boston-based Capital Financial Partners LLC and Capital Financial Holdings LLC – operated a Ponzi scheme that raised almost $32 million from investors who were promised profits from loans to professional athletes. The SEC’s complaint charges Allen, Daub and the three corporate entities with violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC’s complaint also named WJBA Investments LLC, Insurance Depot of America LLC, Simplified Health Solutions LLC, and Simplified Health Solutions 2 LLC. – entities owned or controlled by Allen, Daub, or both – as relief defendants for the sole purpose of recovering investor funds received as a result of the alleged Ponzi scheme.

On April 28, 2015, the SEC obtained a preliminary injunction that continued an asset freeze against Allen, Daub, the defendant corporate entities, and relief defendants, restrained the defendants from accepting additional investor funds, and prevented the defendants from destroying or concealing documents related to the alleged Ponzi scheme.

The SEC’s litigation against Allen, Daub, and the corporate defendants and relief defendants is continuing. The SEC seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement and prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.

SEC Charges Shell Factory Operators With Fraud

The Microcap Fraud Task Force Activities have clearly been gaining momentum…

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a California stock promoter and a New Jersey lawyer who allegedly were creating sham companies and selling them until the SEC stopped them in their tracks.

The SEC alleges that Imran Husain and Gregg Evan Jaclin essentially operated a shell factory enterprise by filing registration statements to form various startup companies and misleading potential investors to believe each company would be operating and profitable.  The agency further alleges that their secret objective all along was merely to make money for themselves by selling the companies as empty shells rather than actually implementing business plans and following through on their representations to investors.

Moving quickly to protect investors based on evidence collected even before its investigation was complete, the SEC issued stop orders and suspended the registration statements of the last two created companies – Counseling International and Comp Services – before investors could be harmed and the companies could be sold.

“Issuers of securities offerings must make truthful disclosures about the company and its business operations so investors know what they’re getting into when they buy the stock,” said Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.  “We allege that Husain drummed up false business plans and created a mirage of initial shareholders while Jaclin developed false paperwork to depict emerging companies that later sold as just empty shells.”

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles:

  • Husain and Jaclin created nine shell companies and sold seven using essentially the same pattern.
  • Husain created a business plan for each company that would not be implemented beyond a few initial steps, and then convinced a friend, relative, or acquaintance to become a puppet CEO who approved and signed corporate documents at Husain’s direction.
  • Jaclin supplied bogus legal documents that Husain used to conduct sham private sales of a company’s shares of stock to “straw shareholders” who were recruited and given cash to pay for the stock they purchased plus a commission.  Some of the recorded shareholders were not even real people.
  • Husain and Jaclin filed registration statements for initial public offerings and falsely claimed that a particular business plan would be implemented.  Deliberately omitted from the registration statements were any mention of Husain starting and controlling the company.
  • Husain and Jaclin filed misleading quarterly and annual reports once a company became registered publicly, providing much of the same false information depicted in the registration statements.
  • Husain obtained about $2.25 million in total proceeds when the empty shell companies were sold, and Jaclin and his firm received nearly $225,000 for their legal services.

The SEC’s complaint charges Husain and Jaclin with violating or aiding and abetting violations of the antifraud, reporting, and securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws.  The SEC seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties, permanent injunctions, and penny stock bars.  The SEC also seeks an officer-and-director bar against Husain.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Roberto A. Tercero and Spencer E. Bendell as part of the Microcap Fraud Task Force.  The litigation will be led by Amy J. Longo and supervised by John Berry.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

GreenScam–SEC: Co. Misled Investors About Green Tech

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a Texas-based technology company and its founder accused of boosting stock sales with false claims about a supposedly revolutionary computer server and big-name customers purportedly placing orders to buy it.

Also charged in the SEC’s complaint is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a former member of the company’s board of directors for allegedly recruiting investors while hiding they were being compensated to promote the company’s stock.

The SEC alleges that Servergy Inc. and William E. Mapp III sold $26 million worth of company stock in private offerings while misleading investors to believe that the Cleantech CTS-1000 server (the company’s sole product) was especially energy-efficient.  They said it could replace “power-hungry” servers found in top data centers and compete directly with top server makers like IBM, Dell, and Hewlett Packard.  However, neither Mapp nor Servergy informed investors that those companies were manufacturing high-performance servers with 64-bit processors while the CTS-1000 had a less powerful 32-bit processor that was being phased out of the industry and could not in reality compete against those companies.

The SEC further alleges that when Servergy was low on operating funds, Mapp enticed prospective investors by falsely claiming well-known companies were ordering the CTS-1000, and he specifically mentioned an order purportedly received from Amazon.  In reality, an Amazon employee had merely contacted Servergy because he wanted to test the product in his free time for personal use.

Servergy has since cut ties with Mapp, who served as CEO.  The company agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty to settle the SEC’s charges.  The litigation continues against Mapp in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

“We allege that Mapp deceived investors into believing that Servergy’s groundbreaking technology was generating lucrative sales to major customers when it was technologically behind its competitors and made no actual sales,” said Shamoil T. Shipchandler, Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office.

While serving in the Texas House of Representatives, Paxton allegedly reached an agreement with Mapp to promote Servergy to prospective investors in return for shares of Servergy stock.  According to the SEC’s complaint, Paxton raised $840,000 in investor funds for Servergy and received 100,000 shares of stock in return, but never disclosed his commissions to prospective investors while recruiting them.  Similarly, former Servergy director Caleb White allegedly raised more than $1.4 million for Servergy and received $66,000 and 20,000 shares of Servergy stock while never disclosing these commissions to investors.  White has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying $66,000 in disgorgement and returning his shares of Servergy stock to the company.  The SEC’s litigation continues against Paxton.

“People recruiting investors have a legal obligation to disclose any compensation they are receiving to promote a stock, and we allege that Paxton and White concealed the compensation they were receiving for touting Servergy’s product,” Mr. Shipchandler said.

The SEC’s complaint charges Servergy, Mapp, Paxton, and White with violating Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Servergy, Mapp, and White also allegedly violated Sections 5(a) and (c) of the Securities Act, and Paxton and White allegedly violated Section 17(b) of the Securities Act and Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.

Servergy and White neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s charges in their settlements.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Samantha S. Martin and Carol J. Hahn and supervised by Jessica B. Magee and David L. Peavler in the Fort Worth office.  The SEC’s litigation will be led by Matthew J. Gulde and Ms. Magee.

SEC Announces Whistleblower Award of More Than $325,000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2015-252

Washington D.C., Nov. 4, 2015 

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a whistleblower award totaling more than $325,000 for a former investment firm employee who tipped the agency with specific information that enabled enforcement staff to open an investigation and uncover the extent of the fraudulent activity.

The whistleblower provided a detailed description of the misconduct and specifically identified individuals behind the wrongdoing to help the SEC bring a successful enforcement action.  The whistleblower waited until after leaving the firm to come forward to the SEC, however, and agency officials say the award could have been higher had this whistleblower not hesitated.

“Corporate insiders who become aware of securities law violations are encouraged to come forward without delay in order to prevent misconduct from continuing unabated while investors suffer more harm,” said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “Whistleblowers are afforded significant incentives and protections under the Dodd-Frank Act and the SEC’s whistleblower program so they can feel secure about doing the right thing and immediately reporting an ongoing fraud rather than letting time pass.”

Sean X. McKessy, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, added, “This award recognizes the value of the information and assistance provided by the whistleblower while underscoring the need for whistleblowers to report information to the agency expeditiously.”

Since its inception in 2011, the SEC’s whistleblower program has paid more than $54 million to 22 whistleblowers who provided the SEC with unique and useful information that contributed to a successful enforcement action.  Whistleblowers are eligible for awards that can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.  All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators.  No money is taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.

By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

For more information about the whistleblower program and how to report a tip, visit www.sec.gov/whistleblower.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Resolves Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Investigation and Agrees to Pay $14.35 Million Penalty

A California-based medical diagnostics and life sciences manufacturing and sales company, Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. (Bio-Rad), has agreed to pay a $14.35 million penalty to resolve allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by falsifying its books and records and failing to implement adequate internal controls in connection with sales it made in Russia.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office made the announcement.

“Public companies that cook their books and hide improper payments foster corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The department pursues corruption from all angles, including the falsification of records and failure to implement adequate internal controls.   The department also gives credit to companies, like Bio-Rad, who self-disclose, cooperate and remediate their violations of the FCPA.”

“The FBI remains committed to identifying and investigating violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Johnson.  “This action demonstrates the benefits of self-disclosure, cooperation, and subsequent remediation by companies.”

According to the company’s admissions in the agreement, Bio-Rad SNC, a Bio-Rad subsidiary located in France, retained and paid intermediary companies commissions of 15-30 percent purportedly in exchange for various services in connection with certain governmental sales in Russia.  The intermediary companies, however, did not perform these services.  Several high-level managers at Bio-Rad, responsible for overseeing Bio-Rad’s business in Russia, reviewed and approved the commission payments to the intermediary companies despite knowing that the intermediary companies were not performing such services.  These managers knowingly caused the payments to be falsely recorded on Bio-Rad SNC’s and, ultimately, Bio-Rad’s books.  Bio-Rad, through several of its managers, also failed to implement adequate controls, as well as adequate compliance systems, with regard to its Russian operations while knowing that the failure to implement such controls allowed the intermediary companies to be paid significantly above-market commissions for little or no services.

The department entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the company due, in large part, to Bio-Rad’s self-disclosure of the misconduct and full cooperation with the department’s investigation.  That cooperation included voluntarily making U.S. and foreign employees available for interviews, voluntarily producing documents from overseas, and summarizing the findings of its internal investigation.  In addition, Bio-Rad has engaged in significant remedial actions, including enhancing its anti-corruption policies globally, improving its internal controls and compliance functions, developing and implementing additional due diligence and contracting procedures for intermediaries, and conducting extensive anti-corruption training throughout the organization.

In addition to the monetary penalty, Bio-Rad agreed to continue to cooperate with the department, to report periodically to the department for a two-year period concerning Bio-Rad’s compliance efforts, and to continue to implement an enhanced compliance program and internal controls designed to prevent and detect FCPA violations.

In a related matter, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that it had entered into a cease and desist order against Bio-Rad in which the company agreed to pay $40.7 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest in connection with the company’s sales in Russia, as well as in Thailand and Vietnam.

The department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Andrew Gentin of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Two Former Rabobank Traders Indicted for Alleged Manipulation of U.S. Dollar, Yen Libor Interest Rates

Two former Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) derivative traders – including the bank’s former Global Head of Liquidity & Finance in London – have been charged in a superseding indictment for their alleged roles in a scheme to manipulate the U.S. Dollar (USD) and Yen London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a benchmark interest rate to which trillions of dollars in interest rate contracts were tied, the Justice Department announced today.  Six former Rabobank employees have now been charged in the Rabobank LIBOR investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Earlier today, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York returned a superseding indictment charging Anthony Allen, 43, of Hertsfordshire, England; and Anthony Conti, 45, of Essex, England, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and with substantive counts of wire fraud for their participation in a scheme to manipulate the USD and Yen LIBOR rate in a manner that benefitted their own or Rabobank’s  financial positions in derivatives that were linked to those benchmarks.

The indictment also charges Tetsuya Motomura, 42, of Tokyo, Japan, and Paul Thompson, 48, of Dalkeith, Australia, who were charged in a prior indictment with Paul Robson, a former Rabobank LIBOR submitter.  In addition to adding as defendants Allen and Conti, the superseding indictment alleges a broader conspiracy to manipulate both the USD LIBOR and the Yen LIBOR.

Robson and Takayuki Yagami, a former Rabobank derivatives trader, each pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy in connection with their roles in the scheme.

“Today, we have charged two more members of the financial industry with influencing Dollar LIBOR and Yen LIBOR to gain an illegal advantage in the market, unfairly benefitting their own trading positions in financial derivatives,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “LIBOR is a key benchmark interest rate that is relied upon to be free of bias and self-dealing, but the conduct of these traders was as galling as it was greedy.  Today’s charges are just the latest installment in the Justice Department’s industry-wide investigation of financial institutions and individuals who manipulated global financial rates.”

“With today’s charges against Messrs. Allen and Conti, we continue to reinforce our message to the financial community that we will not allow the individuals who perpetrate these crimes to hide behind corporate walls,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Snyder.  “This superseding indictment, with its charges against Mr. Allen, makes an especially strong statement to managers in financial institutions who devise schemes to undermine fair and open markets but leave the implementation – and often the blame – with their subordinates.”

“With today’s indictments the FBI’s investigation into Rabobank’s manipulation of LIBOR benchmark rates expands in scope to include the U.S. Dollar,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe. “I would like to thank the special agents, forensic accountants, and analysts, as well as the prosecutors who have worked to identify and stop those who hide behind complex corporate and securities fraud schemes.”

According to the superseding indictment, at the time relevant to the charges, LIBOR was an average interest rate, calculated based on submissions from leading banks around the world, reflecting the rates those banks believed they would be charged if borrowing from other banks.   LIBOR was published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade association based in London.  LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 borrowing periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one year.  The published LIBOR “fix” for U.S. Dollar and Yen currency for a specific maturity was the result of a calculation based upon submissions from a panel of 16 banks, including Rabobank.

LIBOR serves as the primary benchmark for short-term interest rates globally and is used as a reference rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other consumer lending products.

Rabobank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice on Oct. 29, 2013, and agreed to pay a $325 million penalty to resolve violations arising from Rabobank’s LIBOR submissions.

According to allegations in the superseding indictment, Allen, who was Rabobank’s Global Head of Liquidity & Finance and the manager of the company’s money market desk in London, put in place a system in which Rabobank employees who traded in derivative products linked to USD and Yen LIBOR regularly communicated their trading positions to Rabobank’s LIBOR submitters, who submitted Rabobank’s LIBOR contributions to the BBA.  Motomura, Thompson, Yagami and other traders entered into derivative contracts containing USD or Yen LIBOR as a price component and they asked Conti, Robson, Allen and others to submit LIBOR contributions consistent with the traders’ or the bank’s financial interests, to benefit the traders’ or the banks’ trading positions.  Conti, who was based in London and Utrecht, Netherlands, served as Rabobank’s primary USD LIBOR submitter and at times acted as Rabobank’s back-up Yen LIBOR submitter.  Robson, who was based in London, served as Rabobank’s primary submitter of Yen LIBOR.  Allen, in addition to supervising the desk in London and money market trading worldwide, occasionally acted as Rabobank’s backup USD and Yen LIBOR submitter.  Allen also served on a BBA Steering Committee that provided the BBA with advice on the calculation of LIBOR as well as recommendations concerning which financial institutions should sit on the LIBOR contributor panel.

The charges in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by special agents, forensic accountants and intelligence analysts in the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Carol L. Sipperly and Trial Attorney Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust Division.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs has provided assistance in this matter.

The Justice Department expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by various enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, has played a major role in the LIBOR investigation.  The Securities and Exchange Commission also has played a significant role in the LIBOR series of investigations, and the department expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance and ongoing cooperation.   The department has worked closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch Central Bank in the investigation of Rabobank.  Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their cooperation and assistance.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  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.  For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com [external link].

Busy SEC Enforcement Week

News Release: SEC charges three sales managers with #insidertrading ahead of major acquisition: http://t.co/aFMMhsWe9G

ICYMI: Jury finds Wyly brothers liable on all counts in SEC trial victory:http://t.co/GnoYawoP75

Three Qualcomm sales managers charged w/ #insdertrading ahead of major acquisition: http://t.co/ZJedmjdc7D

ICYMI: Statement from SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney on jury’s verdict in case against the Wylys: http://t.co/cd67dOYN8G

SEC’s Stephen Luparello, James Burns and Gregg Berman on SIFMA Market Structure Conference panels in NYC, May 14:http://t.co/A43ump4TV7

Former Bank of America Executive Pleads Guilty for Role in Conspiracy and Fraud Involving Investment Contracts for Municipal Bonds Proceeds

A former Bank of America executive pleaded guilty today for his participation in a conspiracy and scheme to defraud related to bidding for contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other municipal finance contracts, the Department of Justice announced.

Phillip D. Murphy, the former managing director of Bank of America’s municipal derivatives products desk from 1998 to 2002, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina to participating in a fraud conspiracy and wire fraud scheme with employees of  Rubin/Chambers, Dunhill Insurance Services Inc., also known as CDR Financial Products, a broker of municipal finance contracts, and others.  Murphy also pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to make false entries in the reports and statements originating from his desk, which were sent to bank management.

Murphy was indicted by a grand jury on July 19, 2012.  According to the indictment, Murphy  participated in a wire fraud scheme and separate fraud conspiracies that began as early as 1998 and continued until 2006.

“By manipulating what was intended to be a competitive bidding process, the conspirators defrauded municipalities, public entities and taxpayers across the country,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division’s Criminal Enforcement Program.  “Today’s guilty plea reaffirms the Antitrust Division’s continued efforts to hold accountable those who corrupt and subvert the competitive process in our financial markets.”

Public entities seek to invest money from a variety of sources, primarily the proceeds of municipal bonds that they issue, to raise money for, among other things, public projects.  Public entities typically hire a broker to conduct a competitive bidding process for the award of the investment agreements and often for other municipal finance contracts.

According to the charges, Murphy conspired with CDR and others to increase the number and profitability of investment agreements and other municipal finance contracts awarded to Bank of America.  Murphy won investment agreements through CDR’s manipulation of the bidding process in obtaining losing bids from other providers, which is explicitly prohibited by U.S. Treasury regulations.  As a result of the information, various providers won investment agreements and other municipal finance contracts at artificially determined prices.  In exchange for this information, Murphy submitted intentionally losing bids for certain investment agreements and other contracts when requested, and, on occasion, agreed to pay or arranged for kickbacks to be paid to CDR and other co-conspirator brokers.

Murphy and his co-conspirators misrepresented to municipal issuers that the bidding process was competitive and in compliance with U.S. Treasury regulations.  This caused the municipal issuers to award investment agreements and other municipal finance contracts to providers that otherwise would not have been awarded the contracts if the issuers had true and accurate information regarding the bidding process.  Such conduct placed the tax-exempt status of the underlying bonds in jeopardy.

“Mr. Murphy’s actions undermined the public’s trust when he conspired to manipulate a competitive bidding process,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).  “IRS-CI has experienced great success in unraveling significant and complex financial frauds as we work in close collaboration with our law enforcement partners.”

“Mr. Murphy ripped off hard working American taxpayers and cash-strapped municipalities all in pursuit of his own lucre,” said George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office.  “Let this serve as a reminder to others who are entrusted to act in the public’s best interest; your lack of candor won’t go without notice.”

Murphy pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.  The fraud conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.  The false bank records conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The maximum fines for each of these offenses may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

Including Murphy, a total of 17 individuals have been convicted or pleaded guilty.  Additionally, one company has pleaded guilty.

The prosecution is being handled by Steven Tugander, Richard Powers, Eric Hoffmann, Patricia Jannaco and Stephanie Raney of the Antitrust Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kurt Meyers, Michael Savage and Mark Odulio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina have also provided valuable assistance in this matter.  The guilty plea announced today resulted from a wide-ranging investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York office, the FBI and the IRS-CI.  The division coordinated its investigation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Today’s guilty plea 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. attorney’s 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.  Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants.   For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov .

THREE FORMER RABOBANK TRADERS CHARGED WITH MANIPULATING YEN LIBOR

WASHINGTON — Two former Coöperatieve Centrale  Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) Japanese Yen derivatives traders and  the trader responsible for setting Rabobank’s Yen London InterBank Offered Rate  (LIBOR) were charged as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into the  manipulation of LIBOR.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the  Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent  Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in  Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the  announcement.

Earlier today, a U.S. Magistrate  Judge sitting in the Southern District of New York signed a criminal complaint  charging Paul Robson of the United Kingdom, Paul Thompson of Australia, and Tetsuya  Motomura of Japan with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud as well  as substantive counts of wire fraud.  All  are former employees of Rabobank, which on Oct. 29, 2013, entered into a  deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice as part of the  department’s LIBOR investigation and agreed to pay a $325 million penalty.  Each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison  for each count upon conviction.

“Today, less than three months  after Rabobank admitted its involvement in the manipulation of LIBOR, we have charged  three of its senior traders with participating in this global fraud scheme,”  said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “As alleged, these three  traders – working from Japan, Singapore and the U.K. – deliberately submitted  what they called ‘obscenely high’ or ‘silly low’ LIBOR rates in order to  benefit their own trading positions.  The illegal  manipulation of this cornerstone benchmark rate undermines the integrity  of the markets; it harms those who are relying on what they expect to be an  honest benchmark; and it has ripple effects that extend far beyond the trading  at issue here.  The Justice Department has now charged eight individuals  and reached resolutions with four multi-national banks as part of our ongoing  and industry-wide LIBOR probe and, alongside our law enforcement and regulatory  partners both here and abroad, we remain committed to continuing to root out  this misconduct.”

“The  conspirators charged today conspired to rig the interest rates used by  derivative products throughout the financial industry to benefit their own  trading books,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Snyder. “Today’s charges  demonstrate the department’s commitment to hold individuals accountable for  schemes that undermine the integrity of markets that rely on competition to  flourish.”

“Manipulation  of benchmark rates that are routinely referenced by financial products around  the world erodes the integrity of our financial markets,” said Assistant  Director in Charge Parlave.  “The charges  against these individuals represent another step in our ongoing efforts to find  and stop those who hide behind complex corporate and securities fraud schemes.  I commend the Special Agents, forensic  accountants and analysts as well as the prosecutors for the significant time  and resources they committed to investigating this case.”

According to the complaint,  LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based on submissions from leading  banks around the world, reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be  charged if borrowing from other banks.   LIBOR is published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade  association based in London.  At the time  relevant to the criminal complaint, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at  15 borrowing periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one  year.  The published LIBOR “fix” for Yen  LIBOR at a specific maturity is the result of a calculation based upon  submissions from a panel of 16 banks, including Rabobank.

LIBOR serves as the primary  benchmark for short-term interest rates globally and is used as a reference  rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans  and other consumer lending products.  The  Bank of International Settlements estimated that as of the second half of 2009,  outstanding interest rate contracts were valued at approximately $450 trillion.

According to allegations in the complaint,  all three defendants traded in derivative products that referenced Yen  LIBOR.  Robson worked  as a senior trader at Rabobank’s Money Markets and Short Term Forwards desk in  London; Thompson was Rabobank’s head of Money Market and Derivatives Trading  Northeast Asia and worked in Singapore; and Motomura was a senior trader at  Rabobank’s Tokyo desk who supervised money market and derivative traders employed  at Rabobank’s Tokyo desk.  In addition to  trading derivative products that referenced Yen LIBOR, Robson also served as  Rabobank’s primary submitter of Yen LIBOR to the BBA.

Robson, Thompson and Motomura  each entered into derivatives contracts containing Yen LIBOR as a price  component.  The  profit and loss that flowed from those contracts was directly affected by the  relevant Yen LIBOR on certain dates.  If  the relevant Yen LIBOR moved in the direction favorable to the defendants’  positions, Rabobank and the defendants benefitted at the expense of the  counterparties.   When LIBOR moved in the opposite direction, the defendants and  Rabobank stood to lose money to their counterparties.

The complaint alleges that from about May 2006 to at least  January 2011, Robson, Thompson, Motomura and others agreed to make false and  fraudulent Yen LIBOR submissions for the benefit of their trading positions.  According to the allegations, sometimes  Robson submitted rates at a specific level requested by a co-defendant and  consistent with the co-defendant’s trading positions.  Other times, Robson made a higher or lower  Yen LIBOR submission consistent with the direction requested by a co-defendant  and consistent with the co-defendant’s trading positions.  On those occasions, Robson’s manipulated Yen  LIBOR submissions were to the detriment of, among others, Rabobank’s  counterparties to derivative contracts.

In addition to allegedly manipulating Rabobank’s Yen LIBOR  submissions, Robson, on occasion and on behalf of one or more co-defendants,  coordinated his Yen LIBOR submission with the trader responsible for making Yen  LIBOR submissions at another Yen LIBOR panel bank.  At times, Robson allegedly submitted Yen  LIBOR at a level requested by the other trader, and, at other times, that trader  submitted Yen LIBOR at a level requested by Robson.

As alleged  in the complaint, Thompson, Motomura and another Rabobank trader described in  the complaint as Trader-R made requests of Robson for Yen LIBOR submissions  through electronic chats and email exchanges.   For example, on May 19, 2006, after Thompson informed Robson that his  net exposure for his 3-month fixes was 125 billion Yen, he requested by email  that Robson “sneak your 3m libor down a cheeky 1 or 2 bp” because “it will make  a bit of diff for me.”  On or about May  19, 2006, Robson responded: “No prob mate I mark it low.”

On Sept. 21, 2007, Trader-R  asked Robson by email, “where do you think today’s libors are?  If you can I would like 1mth higher  today.”  Robson responded, “bookies  reckon .85,” to which Trader-R replied, “I have some fixings in 1mth so would  appreciate if you can put it higher mate.”   Robson answered, “no prob mate let me know your level.”  After Trader-R asked for “0.90% for 1mth,”  Robson confirmed, “sure no prob[ ] I’ll probably get a few phone calls but no  worries mate… there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!”

As another example, on Aug. 4,  2008, in a Bloomberg chat, Motomura asked Robson, “Please set today’s 6mth  LIBOR at 0.96 I have chunky fixing.”  To this, Robson responded, “no  worries mate.”
The complaint alleges that  Robson accommodated the requests of his co-defendants.  For example, on Sept. 21, 2007, after Robson  received a request from Trader-R for a high 1 month Yen LIBOR, Rabobank  submitted a 1-month Yen LIBOR rate of 0.90, which was 7 basis points higher  than the previous day and 5 basis points above where Robson said that “bookies”  predicted it, and which moved Rabobank’s submission from the middle to the  highest of the panel.

According  to court documents, the defendants were also aware that they were making false  or fraudulent Yen LIBOR submissions.  For  example, on May 10, 2006, Robson admitted in an email that “it must be pretty  embarrasing to set such a low libor.  I  was very embarrased to set my 6 mth – but wanted to help thomo [Thompson].  tomorrow it will be more like 33 from  me.”  At times, Robson referred to the  submissions that he submitted on behalf of his co-defendants as “ridiculously  high” and “obscenely high,” and acknowledged that his submissions would be so  out of line with the other Yen LIBOR panel banks that he might receive a phone  call about them from the BBA or Thomson Reuters.

A criminal complaint is a formal  accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.   A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

The investigation is being  conducted by special agents, forensic accountants, and intelligence analysts in  the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The  prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorneys Carol L. Sipperly, Brian Young  and Alexander H. Berlin of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Trial  Attorneys Ludovic C. Ghesquiere and Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust  Division.  Former Deputy Chief Glenn Leon  and Senior Counsel Rebecca Rohr of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, along  with Assistant Chief Elizabeth Prewitt and Trial Attorneys Eric Schleef and  Richard Powers of the Antitrust Division, have also provided valuable  assistance.  The Criminal Division’s  Office of International Affairs has provided assistance in this matter as well.

The broader investigation  relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates has required, and has greatly  benefited from, a diligent and wide-ranging cooperative effort among various  enforcement agencies both in the United States and abroad.  The Justice Department acknowledges and  expresses its deep appreciation for this assistance.  In particular, the Commodity Futures Trading  Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department  and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, has played a major role  in the LIBOR investigation.  The department  has worked closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch  Central Bank in the investigation of Rabobank.   Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also  participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to  LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their  cooperation and assistance.  In  particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission has played a significant  role in the LIBOR series of investigations, and the department expresses its  appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance  and ongoing cooperation.

This prosecution is  part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud  Enforcement Task Force.  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.  For more  information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.

ADM Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

A subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) pleaded guilty today and has agreed to pay more than $17 million in criminal fines to resolve charges that it paid bribes through vendors to Ukrainian government officials to obtain value-added tax (VAT) refunds, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis of the Central District of Illinois and Special Agent in Charge David A. Ford of the FBI’s Springfield Division made the announcement.
“As today’s guilty plea shows, paying bribes to reap business benefits corrupts markets and undermines the rule of law,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “ADM’s subsidiaries sought to gain a tax benefit by bribing government officials, and then attempted to deliberately conceal their conduct by funneling payments through local vendors.  ADM, in turn, failed to implement sufficient policies and procedures to prevent the bribe payments, although ultimately ADM disclosed the conduct, cooperated with the government, and instituted extensive remedial efforts.  Today’s corporate guilty plea demonstrates that combating bribery is and will remain a mainstay of the Criminal Division’s mission.  We are committed to working closely with our foreign and domestic law enforcement partners to fight global corruption.”
Alfred C. Toepfer International Ukraine Ltd. (ACTI Ukraine), a subsidiary of ADM, pleaded guilty in the Central District of Illinois to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and agreed to pay $17.8 million in criminal fines.    The Department of Justice also entered into a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with ADM in connection with the company’s failure to implement an adequate system of internal financial controls to address the making of improper payments both in Ukraine and by an ADM joint venture in Venezuela.
In a parallel action, ADM consented with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  to a proposed final judgment that orders the company to pay roughly $36.5 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, bringing the total amount of U.S. criminal and regulatory penalties to be paid by ADM and its subsidiary to more than $54 million.
According to the charges, from 2002 to 2008, ACTI Ukraine, a trader and seller of commodities based in the Ukraine, together with Alfred C. Toepfer International G.m.b.H. (ACTI Hamburg), another subsidiary of ADM, paid third-party vendors to pass on bribes to Ukrainian government officials to obtain VAT refunds.    The charges allege that, in total, ACTI Ukraine and ACTI Hamburg paid roughly $22 million to two vendors, nearly all of which was to be passed on to Ukrainian government officials to obtain over $100 million in VAT refunds, resulting in a benefit to ACTI Ukraine and ACTI Hamburg of roughly $41 million.
According to the NPA with ADM, a number of concerns were expressed to ADM executives, including an e-mail calling into question potentially illegal “donations” by ACTI Ukraine and ACTI Hamburg to recover the VAT refunds, yet nonetheless failed to implement sufficient anti-bribery compliance policies and procedures to prevent corrupt payments.
In addition to the monetary penalty, ADM and ACTI Ukraine also agreed to cooperate with the department, to periodically report the companies’ compliance efforts, and to continue implementing enhanced compliance programs and internal controls designed to prevent and detect FCPA violations.
The agreements acknowledge ADM’s timely, voluntary and thorough disclosure of the conduct; ADM’s extensive cooperation with the department, including conducting a world-wide risk assessment and corresponding global internal investigation, making numerous presentations to the department on the status and findings of the internal investigation, voluntarily making current and former employees available for interviews, and compiling relevant documents by category for the department; and ADM’s early and extensive remedial efforts.
The department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the cooperation and assistance of German law enforcement authorities, which, in a parallel investigation, reached a resolution with ACTI Hamburg regarding its role in the bribery scheme.
In addition, the department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the significant assistance provided by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI.    The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Daniel S. Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Miller of the Central District of Illinois, with significant assistance from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa .