Investment bankers are some of the highest-paid professionals in the workforce. Typical compensation for new graduates in entry-level positions is more than $100,000 per year, and those at the top of the profession often earn more than $10 million annually. As a regular part of their job, investment bankers typically have access to what the law calls “material, non-public information” about upcoming corporate investments and company takeovers.
Sometimes the temptation to use or share this confidential information is too much, and investment bankers find themselves defendants in criminal cases, charged with insider trading, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit any or all of these.
Insider trading is an informal term for a violation of the federal securities laws that prohibit the use of “material, non-public information” for personal gain. Usually, the investment banker is not the one doing the trading, because most banks have controls in place to monitor the trades their professionals make. Instead, the banker will share information about a planned takeover or investment with others, who trade on that information before the general public has access to it, will make money on those trades, and then may kick back some money to the banker as part of the arrangement.
Wire fraud is crime that broadly covers any use of phone lines or any electronic communication (texts, e-mail, messaging apps) to defraud another. In the case of insider trading, wire fraud can happen a number of ways: communicating private information to others; exchanging messages about illegal stock trades; and moving investment funds or illegal profits back and forth among the participants in the insider trading scheme.
Frequently, the participants in an insider trading scheme will attempt to hide the fact that they have made money off of the illegal trades, both to conceal the insider trading activity from others and to avoid paying taxes on the illegal profits. Money is transferred to friends, family, shell companies, and the like, which is considered money laundering: basically, any attempt to conceal the actual source or ownership of the illegal proceeds.
Investment bankers involved in insider trading schemes are frequently charged with conspiracy to violate federal securities laws or other federal laws. A conspiracy requires more than just an agreement to commit a crime, however; it also requires that there be two or more persons involved, and that there be some “overt act” in furtherance of the conspiracy, even if that overt act is not successful.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help
If you or someone you know has been charged with insider trading or any similar “white collar” crime, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have the experience and determination you need to help you with your case. Call Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or reach out through our contact form to learn more about how they can help you defend your case.