A Securities and Exchange Commission examiner has reached a deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. prosecutors after being charged with three counts of making false statements about his stockholdings, Reuters reports.
Steven Gilchrist, a veteran employee in the SEC’s New York office, allegedly violated the agency’s ethics rules by purchasing stocks in several companies that are directly regulated by the SEC, according to the Wall Street Journal. SEC rules also dictate that employees seek permission from its ethics office before buying any shares.
The ethics office told Gilchrist to sell his holdings, but instead he allegedly transferred them to a joint account shared with his mother over which he had control. He then went on to tell the SEC that he no longer held these shares. Subsequently, Gilchrist bought 100 shares of J.P. Morgan Chase without getting the required SEC approval for the purchase.
Gilchrist faced up to15 years in prison for making false statements.
“As an SEC examiner, Steven Gilchrist had a duty to avoid conflicts of interest that might compromise or even appear to compromise his integrity,” Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement following Gilchrist’s arrest last November. “Instead, as alleged, he violated the SEC’s internal rules about stock ownership and repeatedly lied to the SEC about his holdings. We will not tolerate abuses of trust and violations of law by individuals tasked with safeguarding our markets.”
The terms of Gilchrist’s deferred prosecution agreement—in which, as Reuters explains, the government can agree to delay or forgo prosecution if a company or individual meets certain conditions—have not been disclosed.