Litigation Release No. 20498 / March 14, 2008

SEC v. William A. DiBella, et al, Civil Action No. 3:04 CV 1342 (EBB) (D. Conn.)

Court Orders William DiBella, Former Majority Leader of the Connecticut State Senate, to Pay Over $791,000 in Connection with Fraud Relating to State Pension Fund

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on March 13, 2008, the Honorable Ellen Bree Burns, United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut, entered a judgment imposing sanctions against William A. DiBella, the former Majority Leader of the Connecticut State Senate, and his consulting firm, North Cove Ventures, L.L.C. for their roles in aiding and abetting then Treasurer of the State of Connecticut, Paul J. Silvester in a fraudulent investment scheme. Pursuant to the scheme, Silvester had invested $75 million in state pension funds with Thayer Capital Partners, a Washington, DC-based private equity firm, and arranged for Thayer to pay DiBella a percentage of the investment, though he did not do work to justify the payment.

The court ordered DiBella to disgorge $374,500 (the amount of his ill-gotten gains from the scheme) and to pay $307,127.45 in prejudgment interest. In addition, the Court imposed a penalty of $110,000. The Court declined to enter a permanent injunction or an officer-and-director bar against DiBella.

The Commission's Complaint alleged that, beginning in November 1998, Silvester requested that Thayer, through its chairman, Frederic V. Malek, hire DiBella. Thayer agreed to retain DiBella and to pay him a percentage of the state pension fund's total investment with Thayer, even though DiBella had no prior involvement with the transaction. The Complaint also alleged that Silvester increased the amount of the pension fund's investment with Thayer by at least $25 million (to a total of $75 million) solely to secure a larger fee for DiBella.

On May 18, 2007, after a seven-day trial, a jury found DiBella and North Cove liable for aiding and abetting Silvester's intentional violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and the negligent violations by Malek, Thayer and its affiliates of Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. In its decision of March 13, 2008, the court reaffirmed the jury's findings.

Previously, the Commission brought and settled charges against Silvester, Thayer, Malek, and two Thayer affiliates.

For further information, see Litigation Release Number 20133 (May 30, 2007), Litigation Release Number 18829 (August 12, 2004), and Administrative Proceeding Release Number 33-8457 (August 12, 2004); see also SEC v. Silvester et al Litigation Release Numbers 16759 (October 10, 2000), 16834 (December 19, 2000), 18436 (October 30, 2003), 18460 (November 17, 2003), 18461 (November 17, 2003), 19241 (May 31, 2005), 19566 (February 15, 2006), 19583 (March 1, 2006), and 20027 (March 2, 2007), and Administrative Proceeding Release Numbers 34-49277 (March 9, 2004), 34-50300 (September 1, 2004), and 34-54774 (November 17, 2006).