Lloyds Banking Group Admits Wrongdoing In LIBOR Investigation,  Agrees To Pay $86 Million Criminal Penalty

WASHINGTON — Lloyds Banking Group plc has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay an $86 million penalty for manipulation of submissions for the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a leading global benchmark interest rate.

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

A criminal information will be filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut that charges Lloyds as part of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).  The information charges Lloyds with wire fraud for its role in manipulating LIBOR.  In addition to the $86 million penalty, the DPA requires the bank to admit and accept responsibility for its misconduct as described in an extensive statement of facts.  Lloyds has agreed to continue cooperating with the Justice Department in its ongoing investigation of the manipulation of benchmark interest rates by other financial institutions and individuals.

“For more than three years, traders at Lloyds manipulated the bank’s LIBOR submissions for three currencies to benefit the trading positions of themselves and their friends, to the detriment of the parties on the other side of the trades,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Because investors and consumers rely on LIBOR’s integrity, rate-rigging fundamentally undermines confidence in financial markets.  Lloyds is the fifth major financial institution that has admitted LIBOR manipulation and paid a criminal penalty, and nine individuals have been criminally charged by the Justice Department.  Our active investigation continues, as we work to restore trust in the markets.”

“Lloyds manipulated benchmark rates, allowing its traders to increase their profits unfairly and fraudulently,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Lloyds’s conduct undermined financial markets domestically and abroad, and today’s charges send a clear message that we will continue to bring those responsible to justice.”

“Manipulating financial trading markets to create an unfair advantage is against the law,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “Today’s agreement further underscores the FBI’s ability to investigate complex international financial crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Washington Field Office has committed significant time and resources including the expertise of Special Agents, forensic accountants and analysts to investigate this case along with our Department of Justice colleagues. Their efforts send a clear message to anyone contemplating financial crimes: think twice or you will face the consequences.”

Together with approximately $283 million in criminal and regulatory penalties imposed by other agencies in actions arising out of the same conduct – $105 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and approximately $178 million by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the Justice Department’s $86 million criminal penalty brings the total amount to be paid by Lloyds to almost $370 million.

According to signed documents, LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based upon submissions from leading banks around the world and reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be charged if borrowing from other banks.  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.

At the time relevant to the conduct in the criminal information, 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 LIBOR for a given currency at a specific maturity was the result of a calculation based upon submissions from a panel of banks for that currency (the Contributor Panel) selected by the BBA.  From at least 2006 through the present, Lloyds (through its subsidiaries) has been a member of the Contributor Panel for a number of currencies, including United States Dollar LIBOR, Pound Sterling LIBOR, and Yen LIBOR.

According to the statement of facts accompanying the agreement, between at least as early as 2006 and at least as late as July 2009, Lloyds’s LIBOR submitters for Dollar LIBOR, Yen LIBOR, and Pound Sterling LIBOR submitted LIBOR contributions intended to benefit their own trading positions or the trading positions of others, rather than rates that complied with the definition of LIBOR.  When Lloyds LIBOR submitters contributed LIBOR submissions to benefit trading positions, the manipulation of the submissions affected the fixed rates on occasion.

According to signed documents, on May 19, 2009, a money markets trader who was a former Dollar LIBOR submitter at a subsidiary of Lloyds wrote to the then-current Dollar LIBOR submitter: “have 5 yard [billion] 3 month liability rolls today so would be advantageous to have lower 3month libor setting if doesn’t conflict with any of your fix’s.”  Later that day, the Dollar LIBOR submitter told the money markets trader in a phone call: “obviously we got the Libors down for you.”

In another example, on March 6, 2009, a money markets trader who was a former Pound Sterling LIBOR submitter for a subsidiary of Lloyds told the then-current Pound Sterling LIBOR submitter: “Um, I’m paying on 12 yards [billions] of 1s today, . . . so if there is any way of making 1s relatively low it would just be helpful for us all.”  That day, the Pound Sterling LIBOR submitter contributed a rate that was ten basis points lower than the previous day’s submission.

Also according to the statement of facts, a Yen LIBOR submitter and a former submitter at Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) who traded money-markets and derivatives products had an agreement to submit Yen LIBOR contributions that benefitted their respective trading positions, rather than submissions that complied with the definition of LIBOR.

For example, on July 28, 2006, the Rabobank submitter wrote to the Yen LIBOR submitter: “morning skipper…..will be setting an obscenely high 1m again today…poss 38 just fyi.”  The Yen LIBOR submitter responded: “(K)…oh dear..my poor customers….hehehe!! manual input libors again today then!!!!”  Both banks’ submissions on July 28 moved up one basis point, from 0.37 to 0.38.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by special agents, forensic accountants, and intelligence analysts of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The prosecution of Lloyds is being handled by Trial Attorney Patrick Pericak of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Mattei and Michael McGarry of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, along with the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, have provided valuable assistance in this matter.

The investigation leading to these cases 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 CFTC’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the FCA, has played a major role in the investigation. 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 investigation, 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.

“Upstart Start-Up” GeyerGorey LLP Opens Dallas Office

“Rocketing from two to eleven attorneys in eight months, GeyerGorey LLP sports over 200 years of cross-disciplinary prosecutorial experience involving a host of domestic and international industries where each of its attorneys has worked on internal investigations and high stakes cases for an average of more than 20 years.”

For more, click the link below:

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Law360: GeyerGorey Opens In Dallas With Former DOJ Antitrust Ace

Law360: GeyerGorey Opens In Dallas With Former DOJ Antitrust Ace

By Alex Lawson

Law360, New York (August 07, 2013, 3:34 PM ET) — GeyerGorey LLP established its presence in Texas with a splash this week, securing the services of a former U.S. Department of Justice antitrust prosecutor to open its Dallas office, the firm announced Tuesday.
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Marshall added that the firm has a strong Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance program that she hopes to be heavily involved in.

While Marshall carries experience across a wide variety of industry sectors, senior partner Hays Gorey Jr. said her work in the energy sector will be of critical importance to the firm’s Texas operations.

“We are thrilled that Joan has decided to join us,” Gorey said. “She adds deep experience with numerous enforcement agencies and complements our experience in key industries like oil and gas exploration, not to mention the fraud piece.”

At DOJ, Marshall gained notoriety for her work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when she led the Antitrust Division’s bribery prosecutions centering on the construction of the levees surrounding New Orleans. She also served on the agency’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, which was eventually rolled into the broader-reaching Disaster Fraud Task Force.

Firm co-founder Brad Geyer said Marshall’s work in the disaster fraud arena would dovetail nicely with the firm’s existing portfolio.

“We are very involved in servicing the government contractor and the nonprofit and nongovernmental organization community and we are excited to roll in Joan’s disaster fraud experience into our overall product offerings,” Geyer said. “It is also unusual to have career prosecutors in one firm that worked on the highest profile matters on both the criminal and civil worlds.”

Marshall received her law degree from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Texas.

–Editing by Katherine Rautenberg.

MainJustice.Com “Former Prosecutor from Shuttered Antitrust Division Office Joins White Collar Firm”

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Former Prosecutor from Shuttered Antitrust Division Office Joins White Collar Firm

Noted Antitrust and Disaster Fraud Prosecutor Joan E. Marshall Joins GeyerGorey LLP

Joan Marshall who prosecuted the worldwide vitamins cartel and brought a series of fraud cases in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has joined the firm as a partner. Previously, Ms. Marshall was with the US DOJ Antitrust Division in the Dallas Field Office. She is the tenth former DOJ prosecutor to join the new boutique law firm in less than a year.Joan Marshall_4small

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

PRLog (Press Release) – Aug. 6, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C. — GeyerGorey LLP is pleased to announce that Joan E. Marshall, a former Department of Justice prosecutor, has joined the firm as partner. Ms. Marshall will open a new office for the firm, in Dallas, where she will be resident.

Ms. Marshall comes to GeyerGorey from the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, where she also served as a prosecutor on the Department’s Disaster Fraud Task Force and its predecessor, the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force. While with the Department of Justice, Ms. Marshall supervised numerous multi-agency investigations of bid rigging, price fixing, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, bribery, perjury and obstruction of justice.

Ms. Marshall had the distinction of breaking the Dallas Field Office’s acclaimed vitamins cartel case and helped to devise, structure and carry out what became one of the most comprehensive international investigations and prosecutions of all time, resulting in more than $1 billion in collected criminal fines. She led the Antitrust Division’s bribery prosecutions involving construction of the levees surrounding New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Her experience spans investigations and prosecutions involving numerous industries including wholesale groceries, milk, seafood, medical equipment, oilfield supplies, military moving and storage, road and building construction, and municipal finance.

“We are thrilled that Joan has decided to join us,” said Hays Gorey. “She adds deep experience with numerous enforcement agencies and compliments our experience in key industries like oil and gas exploration, not to mention the fraud piece. Our corporate compliance and competition expertise is a perfect fit in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, which has the largest concentration of corporate headquarters in the United States.”

Ms. Marshall is a frequent speaker on antitrust enforcement and fraud prevention and detection and has developed numerous training programs. She is a recipient of the United States Department of Justice, Assistant Attorney General’s Award and certificates of appreciation from the United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit.

Robert Zastrow, who was Verizon’s Assistant General Counsel for 15 years before co-founding the firm in October 2012, added, “Joan’s extensive background and expertise nicely complements our firm’s unique philosophy and enriches our solid bench in the White Collar world.” Co-founder, Brad Geyer added: “We are very involved in servicing the government contractor and the non-profit and non-governmental organization community and we are excited to roll in Joan’s disaster fraud experience into our overall product offerings. It is also unusual to have career prosecutors in one firm that worked on the highest profile matters on both the criminal and civil worlds. Joan will give us a strategic presence in the Dallas market, which is home to companies in the airline, technology, energy, banking, medical and defense contracting sectors.”

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., GeyerGorey LLP specializes in white collar criminal defense, particularly investigations and cases involving allegations of economic crimes, such as violations of the federal antitrust laws (price fixing, bid rigging, territorial and customer allocation agreements), procurement fraud, securities fraud, foreign bribery (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and qui tam (False Claims Act) and other whistleblower actions. The firm also conducts internal investigations of possible criminal conduct and provides advice regarding compliance with U.S. antitrust, anti-bribery and other laws.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Phillip Zane’s Game Theory: Ten Years On

Ten years ago this spring, Zane published his definitive work on game theory which changed the way law-and-economics scholars and sophisticated prosecutors and defense counsel analyze whether, when, and how corporations and executive management teams should disclose white collar criminal conduct.

Phillip Zane be the only attorney whose colleagues and clients might expect to see an open book on games and strategy on his desk.

Ten years ago this spring, Zane published The Price Fixer’s Dilemma:  Applying Game Theory to the Decision of Whether to Plead Guilty to Antitrust Crimes, 48 Antitrust Bull. 1 (2003), which changed the way law-and-economics scholars and sophisticated prosecutors and defense counsel analyze whether, and when, to settle high-stakes antitrust cases.

Zane’s article strongly suggested that in a number of common situations, pleading guilty (or even seeking the protections of the corporate leniency program) is not always justified.  Zane’s article used a repeated, or iterative, version of the prisoner’s dilemma to demonstrate that pleading guilty was not always the best strategy for antitrust defendants facing criminal prosecution and civil liability in multiple proceedings or jurisdictions.

At the time, a few of the brainier Antitrust Division prosecutors breathed a sigh of relief when the defense bar did not seem to notice and they failed to incorporate Zane’s research into their negotiating strategies.

In 2007, Zane published “An Introduction to Game Theory for Antitrust Lawyers,” which he used in a unit of an antitrust class he taught at George Mason University School of Law. That paper was another milestone on the way to making game theory concepts accessible and useful to the antitrust defense bar.

Zane’s work, which now used game theory to criticize the settlement of the second Microsoft case and the Government’s approach to conscious parallelism, as well as the leniency program, was met with official grumblings within the Antitrust Division.

GeyerGorey LLP was founded on the principle that the chances for achieving the best possible outcome are maximized by having access to multiple, top-notch, cross-disciplinary legal minds that are synced together by an organizational and compensation structure that encourages sharing of ideas and information in client relationships.

As international enforcement agencies sprouted and developed criminal capabilities and as more hybrid matters included prosecutors from US enforcement agency components with sometimes overlapping jurisdictions, such as the Antitrust, Criminal, Civil and Tax Divisions of the Department of Justice, and the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies, particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission, it became apparent that Zane’s game-theoretic approach has application in almost every significant decision we could be called upon to make.  Since Zane has joined us we have been working to factor in the increased risks associated with what we call hybrid conduct (conduct that violates more than a single statute).  Our tools of analysis for identifying risks for violations of competition laws, anti-corruption laws, anti-money-laundering laws, and other prohibitions, include sophisticated game-theoretic techniques, as well as, of course, the noses of former seasoned prosecutors, taking into account, each particular client’s tolerance for risk.

To take one example, an internal investigation might show both possible price fixing and bribery of foreign government officials.  How, given the potential for multiple prosecutions, should decisions to defend or cooperate be assessed?  And how might such decisions trigger interest by the Tax Division, the SEC, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or other regulators.  When should a corporation launch an internal investigation?  When should it make a mandatory disclosure?  What should it disclose and to which agency, in what order?  When should it seek leniency and when should it instead stand silent?  These tools are valuable in the civil context as well:  When should it abandon a proposed merger or instead oppose an enforcement agency’s challenge to a proposed deal?

These are truly the most difficult questions a lawyer advising large corporations is required to address.  We are well positioned to help answer these questions.

DLA Piper’s Robert Connolly pens MLEX article regarding “The DOJ Antitrust Division’s policy on independent compliance monitors: is it misguided?”

Friend of the Firm, Robert Connolly, former Chief of the Philadelphia Field Office of the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, now resident in DLA Piper’s Philadelphia Office last week penned an important contribution for MLEX regarding DOJ’s evolving policy regarding compliance monitors:  “The DOJ Antitrust Divsion’s policy on independent compliance monitors: is it misguided?”

 

Health Care Clinic Director Sentenced for Role in $63 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

A former health care clinic director and licensed clinical psychologist at defunct health provider Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN) was sentenced today in Miami to serve 135 months in prison for her central role in a fraud scheme that resulted in more than $63 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Florida Medicaid.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the Miami office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

Alina Feas, 53, of Miami, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida.  In addition to her prison term, Feas was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $24.1 million in restitution.

On May 7, 2013, Feas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one substantive health care fraud count. During the course of the conspiracy, Feas was employed as a therapist and clinical director of HCSN’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).  A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.          HCSN of Florida (HCSN-FL) operated community mental health centers at two locations.  In her capacity as clinical director, Feas oversaw the entire clinical program and supervised therapists and other HCSN-FL personnel.  She also conducted group therapy sessions when therapists were absent, and she was aware that HCSN-FL paid illegal kickbacks to owners and operators of Miami-Dade County Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) in exchange for patient referral information to be used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid.  Feas also knew that many of the ALF referral patients were ineligible for PHP services because many patients suffered from mental retardation, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Feas submitted claims to Medicare for individual therapy she purportedly provided to HCSN-FL patients using her personal Medicare provider number, knowing that HCSN-FL was simultaneously billing the same patients for PHP services.  She continued to bill Medicare under her personal provider number while an HCSN community health center in North Carolina (HCSN-NC) simultaneously submitted false and fraudulent PHP claims.

Feas was also aware that HCSN-FL personnel were fabricating patient medical records. Many of these medical records were created weeks or months after the patients were admitted to HCSN-FL for purported PHP treatment and were used to support false and fraudulent billing to government-sponsored health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Florida Medicaid.  During her employment at HCSN-FL, Feas signed fabricated PHP therapy notes and other medical records used to support false claims to government-sponsored health care programs.

At HCSN-NC, Feas was aware that her co-conspirators were fabricating medical records to support the fraudulent claims she was causing to be submitted to Medicare on behalf of HCSN-NC. She knew that a majority of the fabricated notes were created at the HCSN-FL facility for patients admitted into the PHP at HCSN-NC.  In some instances, Feas signed therapy notes and other medical records even though she never provided services in HCSN-NC’s PHP.

From 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Medicaid program more than $63 million for purported mental health services.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.  This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Allan J. Medina, former Special Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina, and Deputy Chief Benjamin D. Singer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Halliburton Agrees to Plead Guilty to Destruction of Evidence in Connection with Deepwater Horizon Tragedy Third Corporate Guilty Plea Obtained by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force

Halliburton Energy Services Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Department of Justice announced today.  A criminal information charging Halliburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Halliburton has signed a cooperation and guilty plea agreement with the government in which Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty and admit its criminal conduct.  As part of the plea agreement, Halliburton has further agreed, subject to the court’s approval, to pay the maximum-available statutory fine, to be subject to three years of probation and to continue its cooperation in the government’s ongoing criminal investigation.  Separately, Halliburton made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that was not conditioned on the court’s acceptance of its plea agreement.

According to court documents, on April 20, 2010, while stationed at the Macondo well site in the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon rig experienced an uncontrolled blowout and related explosions and fire, which resulted in the deaths of 11 rig workers and the largest oil spill in U.S. history.  Following the blowout, Halliburton conducted its own review of various technical aspects of the well’s design and construction.  On or about May 3, 2010, Halliburton established an internal working group to examine the Macondo well blowout, including whether the number of centralizers used on the final production casing could have contributed to the blowout.  A production casing is a long, heavy metal pipe set across the area of the oil and natural gas reservoir.  Centralizers are protruding metal collars affixed at various intervals on the outside of the casing.  Use of centralizers can help keep the casing centered in the wellbore away from the surrounding walls as it is lowered and placed in the well.  Centralization can be significant to the quality of subsequent cementing around the bottom of the casing.  Prior to the blowout, Halliburton had recommended to BP the use of 21 centralizers in the Macondo well.  BP opted to use six centralizers instead.

As detailed in the information, in connection with its own internal post-incident examination of the well, in or about May 2010, Halliburton, through its Cementing Technology Director, directed a Senior Program Manager for the Cement Product Line (Program Manager) to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well final cementing job using Halliburton’s Displace 3D simulation program to compare the impact of using six versus 21 centralizers.  Displace 3D was a next-generation simulation program that was being developed to model fluid interfaces and their movement through the wellbore and annulus of a well.  These simulations indicated that there was little difference between using six and 21 centralizers.  Program Manager was directed to, and did, destroy these results.

In or about June 2010, similar evidence was also destroyed in a later incident.  Halliburton’s Cementing Technology Director asked another, more experienced, employee (“Employee 1”) to run simulations again comparing six versus 21 centralizers.  Employee 1 reached the same conclusion and, like Program Manager before him, was then directed to “get rid of” the simulations.

Efforts to forensically recover the original destroyed Displace 3D computer simulations during ensuing civil litigation and federal criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force were unsuccessful.

In agreeing to plead guilty, Halliburton has accepted criminal responsibility for destroying the aforementioned evidence.

The guilty plea agreement and criminal charge announced today are part of the ongoing criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force into matters related to the April 2010 Gulf oil spill.  The Deepwater Horizon Task Force, based in New Orleans, is supervised by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman and led by John D. Buretta, who serves as the director of the task force.  The task force includes prosecutors from the Criminal Division and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and other U.S. Attorney’s Offices; and investigating agents from:  the FBI; Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General; Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

The case is being prosecuted by Deepwater Horizon Task Force Director John D. Buretta, Deputy Directors Derek A. Cohen and Avi Gesser, and task force prosecutors Richard R. Pickens II, Scott M. Cullen, Colin Black and Rohan Virginkar.

An information is merely a charge and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Former Investment Banker and His Associate Sentenced for Insider Trading Scheme

A former San Francisco investment banker and his college friend were sentenced yesterday to 16 months in prison for their roles in an insider trading scheme involving two impending corporate mergers, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California.
Jauyo Lee, or “Jason Lee,” 29, of Palo Alto, Calif., and Victor Chen, 29, of Sunnyvale, Calif., both pleaded guilty on April 16, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud.
According to the plea agreements, Lee, who worked as an investment banker in the San Francisco office of Leerink Swann LLC, disclosed inside information to Chen, a friend from college, about two impending mergers involving Leerink clients.  Between Aug. 26, 2009, and Sept. 5, 2009, Lee disclosed inside information to Chen about the merger of Leerink’s client, Syneron Medical Ltd., and Candela Corporation, a medical device company publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock market.  Chen used the inside information to buy shares of Candela.  After the merger was announced, Candela’s stock price increased more than 40 percent and Chen sold his shares for a gain of approximately $62,589.
Between June 1 and June 13 of 2010, Lee also provided Chen with inside information about the impending merger of Somanetics Corporation and a subsidiary of Covidien plc.  Leerink was the lead financial advisor to Somanetics, which also was publicly traded on the NASDAQ.  Chen used the inside information to buy shares and options of Somanetics.  Following the merger announcement, the price of Somanetics stock increased more than 30 percent and Chen ultimately realized a profit of approximately $547,510.
Lee and Chen were charged in a criminal information on March 21, 2013.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Seeborg of the Northern District of California.  Judge Seeborg also sentenced Lee and Chen each to a two-year period of supervised release and ordered that restitution and forfeiture be considered at a subsequent hearing.  Chen paid $610,099 in forfeiture prior to sentencing.
This case was investigated by the FBI with substantial assistance from the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Leach and Trial Attorney Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section with the assistance of Rayneisha Booth and Mary Mallory.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  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.