12/19/2012 – UBS Securities Japan to Plead Guilty to Felony Wire Fraud For Long Running Manipulation of LIBOR Benchmark Interest Rates
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2012
THREE FORMER UBS EXECUTIVES CONVICTED FOR FRAUDS INVOLVING CONTRACTS RELATED TO THE INVESTMENT OF MUNICIPAL BOND PROCEEDS
WASHINGTON — A federal jury in New York City today convicted three former financial services executives for their participation in frauds related to bidding for contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other municipal finance contracts, the Department of Justice announced.
Peter Ghavami, Gary Heinz and Michael Welty, all former UBS AG executives, were found guilty on conspiracy and fraud charges in the U.S. District Court in New York City. Ghavami was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of substantive wire fraud. Heinz was found guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of substantive wire fraud. Welty was found guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Heinz was found not guilty on one count of witness tampering and Welty was found not guilty on one count of substantive wire fraud.
The trial began on July 30, 2012. Ghavami, Heinz and Welty were initially indicted on Dec. 9, 2010.
“For years, these executives corrupted the competitive bidding process and defrauded municipalities across the country out of money for important public works projects,” said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “Today’s convictions demonstrate that the division is committed to holding accountable those who seek to unfairly and illegally undermine competitive markets.”
According to evidence presented at trial, while employed at UBS, Ghavami, Heinz and Welty participated in separate fraud conspiracies and schemes with various financial institutions and with a broker, at various time periods from as early as March 2001 until at least November 2006. These financial institutions, or providers, offered a type of contract—known as an investment agreement— to state, county and local governments and agencies, and not-for-profit entities, throughout the United States. The public entities were seeking to invest money from a variety of sources, primarily the proceeds of municipal bonds that they had issued to raise money for, among other things, public projects. Public entities typically hire a broker to assist them in investing their money and to conduct a competitive bidding process to determine the winning provider.
According to evidence presented at trial, while acting as providers, Ghavami, Heinz and Welty, with their provider and broker co-conspirators, corrupted the bidding process for more than a dozen investment agreements to increase the number and profitability of the agreements awarded to UBS. At other times, while acting as brokers, Ghavami, Heinz, Welty and their co-conspirators arranged for UBS to receive kickbacks in exchange for manipulating the bidding process and steering investment agreements to certain providers.
Ghavami, Heinz and Welty deprived the municipalities of competitive interest rates for the investment of tax-exempt bond proceeds that were to be used by municipalities to refinance outstanding debt and for various public works projects, such as for building or repairing schools, hospitals and roads. Evidence at trial established that they cost municipalities around the country and the U.S. Treasury millions of dollars.
During the trial, the government presented specific evidence relating to approximately 26 corrupted bids and approximately 76 recorded conversations made by the co-conspirator financial institutions. Among the issuers and not-for-profit entities whose agreements or contracts were subject to the defendants’ schemes were the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, the Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation of Rhode Island and the RWJ Health Care Corp at Hamilton.
“Corrupt bidding schemes serve to weaken the public’s trust in the municipal bond market and prevent public entities from enjoying the benefits of a true competitive bidding process,” said Mary E. Galligan, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in New York. “Today’s conviction is further proof of our efforts to weed out these corrupt criminals and ensure justice is served.”
“Today’s verdict is important because it confirms that these complex, seemingly uninteresting backroom deals have a real impact on taxpayers, who should benefit from a municipal bond issue and are ultimately responsible for paying it off,” said Richard Weber, Chief, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). “Today’s convictions send a strong message to the municipal bond industry and demonstrates the commitment of the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department to rid the industry of corrupt practices.”
A total of 20 individuals have been charged as a result of the department’s ongoing municipal bonds investigation. Including today’s convictions, a total of 19 individuals have been convicted or pleaded guilty, and one awaits trial. Additionally, one company has pleaded guilty.
Two of charged fraud conspiracies carry a maximum penalty per count of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. A third fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The two wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty per count of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. These maximum fines per count may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
The verdict announced today resulted from an ongoing investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York and Chicago Offices, the FBI and the IRS-CI. The division is coordinating 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 convictions are part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. 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.
Anyone with information concerning bid rigging and related offenses in any financial markets should contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office at 212-335-8000, the FBI at 212-384-5000 or IRS-CI at 212-436-1761, or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2012
FORMER EMPLOYEE OF NURSING HOME COMPANY OPERATING IN NORTH
WASHINGTON — The former director of corporate maintenance and renovations at Medical Facilities of America Inc. (MFA) was today sentenced to serve 63 months in prison for accepting kickbacks from contractors and evading federal income taxes, the Department of Justice announced. MFA operates health care and nursing home facilities throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
John D. Henderson, of Colonial Heights, Va., was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Va., by Judge Samuel G. Wilson. In addition to his prison sentence, Henderson was ordered to pay a total of $698,088 in restitution and additional taxes, penalties and interest to the Internal Revenue Service for his participation in two separate conspiracies. The conspiracies involved steering contracts for the repair, maintenance and renovation at MFA health care and nursing home facilities. One of the conspiracies took place from about June 1998 until at least December 2006, and the other conspiracy took place from about July 2005 until at least December 2006. Henderson pleaded guilty on March 14, 2012, to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud for the kickback schemes and to two counts for failing to include the kickbacks and other income he received on his federal income tax returns for years 2005 and 2006.
According to the four-count felony charge, Henderson oversaw the bidding process for repair, maintenance and renovation contracts at MFA facilities. To facilitate the conspiracies, Henderson steered contracts to several venders in return for kickbacks; created fictitious competitor bids that were higher than the quotes submitted by the venders who paid him, in order to create the appearance of competition; and directed subordinates to solicit quotes only from vendors who paid him. Henderson received more than $560,000 in kickbacks and had at least $101,000 more paid to a co-conspirator, and in return steered MFA contracts totaling more than $5 million.
“Through this kickback scheme, Henderson and his co-conspirators deprived MFA of competitive pricing to its financial detriment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland in charge of the Antitrust Division. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates the division’s commitment to holding executives accountable for disrupting the competitive bidding process for service contracts.”
Henderson is the fifth individual to plead guilty in the department’s fraud investigation into the award of repair, maintenance and renovation contracts at facilities owned by MFA. On Oct. 18, 2011, both Donald R. Holland and Larry R. Sumpter pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to participating in the scheme. On Jan. 31, 2012, Holland and Sumpter were each sentenced by Judge Samuel G. Wilson to serve two years of probation and were fined $50,000 and $15,000, respectively. On April 4, 2011, Edward T. Fodrey pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va., and was sentenced by Judge Mark S. Davis on Jan. 31, 2012, to serve 37 months in prison and was ordered to pay $326,799 in restitution. Gary L. Johns pleaded guilty on Dec. 12, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Roanoke and was sentenced by Judge Wilson on March 14, 2012 to serve three years of probation and to pay $169,341 in restitution.
The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Philadelphia Field Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, the FBI in Roanoke and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation in Roanoke. Anyone with information concerning fraudulent behavior relating to the award of contracts by MFA should contact the Antitrust Division’s Philadelphia Field Office at 215-597-7405 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2012
VIRGINIA CONTRACTOR SENTENCED TO SERVE 37 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR KICKBACK SCHEME AND FAILURE TO FILE TAX RETURN
WASHINGTON — A Virginia contractor was sentenced today to serve 37 months in prison for participating in a scheme to steer contracts to him for repair, maintenance and renovation work at healthcare and nursing home facilities owned by Medical Facilities of America Inc. (MFA), the Department of Justice announced.
Edward T. Fodrey, a resident of Norfolk, Va., was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Norfolk by Judge Mark S. Davis and was ordered to pay $326,799 in restitution. Fodrey pleaded guilty on April 4, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with his participation in a kickback scheme and one count of failing to file a tax return.
According to the charge filed on March 30, 2011, from about May 2006 until at least December 2006, Fodrey conspired with an MFA employee who oversaw the bidding process for repair, maintenance and renovation contracts at MFA facilities in North Carolina and Virginia. The MFA employee steered contracts to Fodrey in return for kickbacks by creating fictitious competitor bids that were higher than the quotes submitted by Fodrey and other co-conspirator venders in order to create the appearance of competition. The MFA employee directed subordinates to solicit quotes only from Fodrey or other conspiring vendors and specified the amount Fodrey should quote to MFA as well as the amount of the kickback on each of the contracts.
Fodrey paid more than $160,000 in kickbacks to the MFA employee and received contracts and subcontracts totaling more than $750,000. The court document states that as a result of the kickback scheme, MFA was deprived of competitive pricing to its financial detriment. Fodrey was also charged with failing to file a tax return for 2006, which is the year in which Fodrey received payment on the MFA contracts.
Fodrey is the first to be sentenced of the four individuals charged to date in connection with the department’s ongoing fraud investigation into the award of repair, maintenance and renovation contracts at facilities owned by MFA. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Philadelphia Field Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Western District of Virginia, the FBI in Roanoke, Va., and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation in Roanoke. Anyone with information concerning fraudulent behavior relating to the award of contracts by MFA should contact the Antitrust Division’s Philadelphia Field Office at 215-597-7405 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.
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