A former Ernst & Young partner and an investment banker were charged with insider trading Thursday in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan.
James Gansman, 48, the former partner, and Donna Murdoch, 44, the investment banker, were charged in U.S. District Court with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and 11 counts of securities fraud.
They are accused of joining a scheme to trade illegally on seven separate potential merger and acquisition transactions that involved clients of Ernst & Young.
Prosecutors said Gansman, of Manhattan, provided tips and Murdoch, of Malvern, Pa., used them to trade securities in personal accounts, earning more than $390,000 in profits.
Authorities say the illegal trades occurred between May 2006 and December 2007, when Murdoch was working as a consultant and an investment banking managing director at a broker-dealer and investment and financial services company.
Prosecutors say Gansman and Murdoch communicated hundreds of times with telephone and text messages during periods when illegal trades were occurring.
Gansman was arrested Thursday; Murdoch is expected to surrender sometime this week.
"Mr. Gansman did not participate in any wrongful conduct whatsoever," said his lawyer, Barry Bohrer. "He did not trade a single share nor make a penny on the basis of inside information and was not aware that anyone had done so."
Murdoch's lawyer, Barry Pollack, said the charges relate solely to trading in his client's personal account and have nothing to do with her job at a small investment banking firm in Philadelphia.
"We have had a number of conversations with the government and are very disappointed they have chosen to proceed in the face of what we believe is substantial evidence she did not engage in any insider trading," Pollack said.
If convicted, the defendants could face as much as 25 years in prison and more than $5 million in fines.
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