U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 22754 / July 22, 2013
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert D. Ramnarine, Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-04837 (D.N.J.)
Former Bristol-Myers Executive Agrees to Settle Insider Trading Charges
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that the Honorable Susan D. Wigenton of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey entered a judgment approving a $324,777 settlement between the Commission and Robert D. Ramnarine, a former executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., in a case that arose from allegations of insider trading in the securities of three companies that Bristol had targeted for acquisitions between 2010 and 2012.
In its action against Ramnarine, SEC v. Robert D. Ramnarine, 2:12-cv-04837 (D.N.J.), filed on August 2, 2012, the Commission alleged that Ramnarine, a former executive in Bristol's treasury department, misappropriated material nonpublic information relating to Bristol's involvement in evaluating possible acquisitions of ZymoGenetics, Inc., Pharmasset, Inc. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and then traded in stock options of these potential target companies' securities in personal brokerage accounts. Prior to buying Pharmasset call options, the Commission alleged that Ramnarine sought to conceal his unlawful conduct by conducting internet research, using his Bristol computer, to determine whether his option trading would be detected by regulators. In particular, the Commission alleged that Ramnarine ran internet searches using Bristol's computer network for phrases including "can stock option be traced to purchaser," "how to detect can stock option be traced to purchase inside trading," and "illegal insider trading options trace." According to the Commission's complaint, Ramnarine realized ill-gotten gains of at least $311,361 by trading stock options of ZymoGenetics, Pharmasset and Amylin in advance of announcements that those companies would be acquired.
The judgment entered in the Commission's action permanently enjoins Ramnarine from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and (14)(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 thereunder, and permanently enjoins Ramnarine from acting as an officer or director of any issuer that has any class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act. The judgment also requires Ramnarine to disgorge $311,361, plus prejudgment interest of $13,061, and requires that funds in a brokerage account controlled by Ramnarine that were frozen by previous order of the Court be transferred to the Commission. Pursuant to the judgment, the Commission may later move the Court to impose a civil penalty against Ramnarine.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey filed a parallel criminal action against Ramnarine on August 1, 2012 based on the same facts, U.S. v. Ramnarine, 3:13-cr-00387 (D.N.J.), and on June 10, 2013, Ramnarine pleaded guilty to securities fraud before the Honorable Anne E. Thompson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Sentencing is scheduled for September 26, 2013.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Options Regulatory Surveillance Authority.
The Commission's investigation was conducted by Market Abuse Unit staff Paul T. Chryssikos, Senior Counsel, and John S. Rymas, Investigator, in the Philadelphia Regional Office. Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the Market Abuse Unit, supervised the investigation. Regional Trial Counsel, G. Jeffrey Boujoukos and Senior Trial Counsel, John V. Donnelly, handled the litigation.