Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Group of Global Investors with more than $11 Trillion in Assets Call on Texas Lawmakers to Oppose Anti-LGBT “Bathroom Bill”

NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management lead charge against Anti-LGBT Legislation in Texas

Group of more than 30 global investors warn Texas officials of economic repercussions of discriminatory bills

   Led by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Trillium Asset Management, a group of some of the largest investors in the world, with a combined $11 trillion of assets under management, today spoke out against Texas Senate Bill 6 (or SB6), “Bathroom Bill,” as well as similar discriminatory legislation. In the wake of hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity in North Carolina after HB2 – a similar bill – was signed into law in that state, major investors are standing up against this discriminatory legislation.
The more than 30 signatories include some of the biggest investors in the world, such as BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, T. Rowe Price, and AllianceBernstein, as well as New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, California Controller Betty Yee, Connecticut Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read, Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Vermont Treasurer Elizabeth Pearce.
The investors’ letter urges Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus to oppose the legislation, which would discriminate against transgender individuals in Texas. This not only makes it more difficult for companies to attract and retain the best talent, but could have real effects on the Texas economy by undermining businesses operating there, and delivering extraordinary reputational harm to the Texas business environment. The state could lose hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars in economic activity. Tourism dollars, sporting and other entertainment events, and corporate expansions – all are vital to Texas’s economy and could be at risk. As just one indication of the potential impact, organizations including the National Football League and the NCAA have already warned that the siting of future events in Texas would be jeopardized.
The investors’ letter also highlight opposition to SB6 from more than 1,200 companies doing business in Texas, including major firms like American Airlines, Dow Chemical, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, and Waste Management.
“This bill is the 2.0 version of North Carolina’s HB2, and we saw how that bill impacted North Carolina. Not only is SB6 wrong for Texas residents, it also undermines anyone who is invested in companies in that state. SB6 would take Texas in the wrong direction,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “This group of investors represents a truly extraordinary level of assets, and the market is unquestionably speaking out about the economic consequences of such bills. We hope that message will be heard. I couldn’t be prouder to lead this massive effort to protect not just the interests of New York’s retired firefighters, police officers, and teachers, but also fundamental human rights.”
“The evidence is overwhelming that inclusive corporate and public policy that embraces diversity and equality are essential to strong businesses and financial success. Trillium Asset Management, and the trillions of dollars of assets that support this letter, unequivocally and emphatically urge Texas legislators to maintain a healthy and vibrant climate for business in the State of Texas,” said Trillium Asset Management, CEO Matthew Patsky, CFA. “Senate Bill 6 must be defeated and not allowed to negatively impact the economy of Texas, the second largest in the United States.”
SB6, introduced in early January 2017, is similar to North Carolina’s HB2’s bathroom restrictions, and requires individuals to use the public restroom that aligns with the gender on their birth certificate, discriminating against transgender individuals. The bill also eliminates municipal bathroom access non-discrimination laws, effectively legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community in both public and private accommodations. SB6 allows the Texas Attorney General to impose fines of up to $10,500 a day for violation of bathroom access regulations.
North Carolina has faced significant financial harm since enacting a similar bill, HB2, in March 2016. In the months since the bill was enacted, sporting events, concerts, TV shows, and conventions were canceled and business expansions were halted. By some estimates, the cost to the State reached over $600 million.
To read the full investor letter, and see a full list of signatories, click here.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz

Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda’s Great Idea

You should know that Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda, Senator Marisol Alcantara and I have joined together and submitted a piece of joint-legislation to help resolve some of the environmental problems caused by plastic bags.

As you know, the Members of the New York City Council, under the direct leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, approved legislation to force every consumer, including senior citizens, the poor, the needy and everyone who shops in the five boroughs of the City of New York to pay 5-cents (5¢) to the merchant for each plastic bag they used while shopping.

According to Melissa Mark Viverito and the Members of the City Council, this 5-cents (5¢) imposition per plastic bag was done with the purpose of cleaning up the environment, and doing away with the infestation of plastic bags on New York City streets.
According to their legislation, when the consumer goes to the supermarket, bodega or other retail establishments, he or she will be forced to pay 5-cents (5¢) for each plastic bag they use. Can anyone imagine why this 5-cents (5¢) per bag fee should then be kept by the store owner, not the government. This was all done in the name of cleaning the environment.

As you know, our fight and participation in support of Senator Simcha Felder’s effort to do away with this injustice toward the consumer was joined by Republicans in the Senate, and we were victorious.
And, as I have explained to you in my earlier columns, of the six Hispanic Senators: Marisol Alcantara, José Serrano, José Peralta, Martin Malavé Dilan, Gustavo Rivera and myself, only two of us, José Peralta and I were the only ones who voted against the imposition of the 5-cents (5¢) penalty. The other four voted in favor of forcing senior citizens, the poor, the needy and every other consumer in the City of New York to pay 5-cents (5¢) per plastic bag while shopping.

You should also know that after the New York Senate voted to stop it, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Honorable Carl Heastie and the Members of the Assembly did the same and joined with the Republicans in voting to stop this injustice that was set to go into effect on February 15, 2107.

And, our beloved Governor Andrew Cuomo then put the City Council’s legislation in checkmate by signing into law the Senate and Assembly’s joint legislation to postpone all of this for one year while studies could be done to find better environmental solutions than having the consumer pay this 5-cents (5¢) fee.

It is very important for you to know that without waiting one year, and almost immediately, Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda came up with a marvelous idea to introduce another piece of legislation, which Senator Marisol Alcantara and I joined in sponsoring.
The great idea that Assemblyman Sepúlveda introduced in the Assembly is to actually help clean up the environment and take plastic bags off the streets. Instead of forcing consumers to pay 5-cents (5¢) that the store owners keep per plastic bag, to pay consumers 3-cents (3¢) for each plastic bag that they re-use.

If the problem, as explained by Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members of the New aYork City Council, is to take plastic bags off the streets and to clean the environment, I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a way for the consumer to be rewarded with 3-cents (3¢) per bag, if in all honesty, the idea was to clean the environment.

I imagine there would be no reason why, with Assemblyman Sepulveda's great idea, that those elected officials who were in favor of forcing consumers to pay 5-cents (5¢) per plastic bag to clean the environment would oppose this new proposed legislation.

I see no reason why any elected officials would want senior citizens, the poor, the needy, and hard working New Yorkers to be forced to pay 5-cents (5¢) per plastic bag, instead of paying shoppers 3-cents (3¢) per plastic bag they reuse in order to help clean the environment.

Honorable New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Members of the New York City Council: the ball is in your court.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

3rd Annual Black History Month Veterans Celebration

Black History Month Flyer (1).jpg

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Hosts Annual Legislative Forum

Discussion Focuses on Trump Administration’s Plans for Affordable Care Act

Left to right, John Jurenko, V.P. of Government & Community Relations, NYC Health + Hospitals; Robert Nolan, NYC Health + Hospitals Board Member; Esme Sattaur-Low, Community Advisory Board Member; Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj; William Foley, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi; Sylvia Lask, CAB Member; Silvio Mazzella, CAB Member; Alvin Young, NYC Health + Hospitals, Intergovernmental Affairs; Josephine Bolus, Chairperson of NYC Health + Hospitals Board of Directors Community Relations Committee

The Community Advisory Board of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi hosted its annual Legislative Forum on February 8. Approximately 70 people attended, including board members, staff, and the community, to hear from local elected officials regarding health care funding and the role of the public hospital system in serving the community.

Jacobi Chief Executive Officer William Foley welcomed attendees with opening remarks focused on the hospital’s many specialty programs and designated Centers of Excellence. He was followed by the Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, John Jurenko, who outlined fiscal challenges the health system faces at the federal and state levels.

Many elected officials attended the event, including New York State Senators Jeffrey Klein and Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Members Michael Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj, and New York City Council Member Andy King. Klein and Rivera spoke specifically about health policy and how recent legislative action in Albany may result in greater reimbursement of safety net hospitals. Klein also praised the progress that the Stand Up to Violence (SUV) program at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi has made throughout the Bronx. Funded by the State, SUV is a unique, hospital-based gun violence interruption program that has produced impressive reductions in violence within the three precincts where it is active. Klein called NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi an excellent partner in the establishment of this successful initiative.
Assembly Members Benedetto and Gjonaj also spoke and pledged to support NYC Health + Hospitals in carrying out its mission to provide care for all regardless of race, gender, origin, sexual orientation, immigration status, or ability to pay.


Former Obama Administration official to lead ACS, deepen agency’s mission to protect NYC’s most vulnerable children

   Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed David Hansell Commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Hansell, a skilled manager with decades of experience overseeing large-scale agencies and delivering effective social services for at-risk communities, comes to ACS after a nearly five-year tenure as Managing Director and head of the Global Human & Social Services Center of Excellence at KPMG.

Hansell has built a reputation as a proven manager with a data-driven focus on improving outcomes for vulnerable populations, especially at-risk families and children. Hansell has worked at the national, state and local levels in child welfare and social services, including prior service in the New York City government in the Department of Health and the Human Resources Administration, in addition to his experience in the private and non-profit sectors.

“Our most solemn responsibility is to provide vulnerable children with the care and support they deserve,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “David Hansell understands this mission deeply – and that’s why I know he’s the right choice to lead ACS and implement an aggressive reform agenda focused on preventive services for kids and families. David has spent his career on the frontlines working with at-risk communities, and I have no doubt he’ll tackle this job with the same focus and intensity that’s defined his career.”

“David Hansell has dedicated his career to uplifting some of our most vulnerable populations, including at-risk children, low-income families, and New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “He’s a skilled manager with exactly the type of experience and vision needed to lead a complex child welfare agency like ACS. I know he’ll be a tenacious advocate for the welfare of children across the City, and couldn’t be prouder to bring him onto our team.”

“I am honored to lead ACS at this critical time, and confident that my long-term experience in government well-prepared me to strengthen ACS’ mission and programs,” said Administration for Children's Services Commissioner David A. Hansell. “Under my leadership, ACS will continue implementation of needed reforms to better protect and serve our most vulnerable children and families throughout New York City.”

The de Blasio administration has invested over $122 million in new funding to strengthen the child welfare system. Currently, fewer than 10,000 children are in foster care – the lowest number in decades – due to better child protective investigations, more preventive services and improvements in foster care practices. During 2015, more than 46,000 children received preventive services, creating a universe of 22,000 families benefiting from preventive services during that year. In 2016, ACS hired more than 600 new Child Protective Specialists to increase staffing for those dedicated workers who carry out the critical work of responding and investigating reports of child abuse or neglect.

Hansell will begin his position at the Administration for Children’s Services on March 6, 2017.

About David Hansell

David Hansell is an accomplished manager with decades of experience in social services work across the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Since 2012, Hansell has been a Managing Director at KPMG, and served as head of its Global Human & Social Services Center of Excellence. In this position, Hansell expanded advisory relationship with government agencies both in the U.S. and across the world, with a focus on social service delivery in areas such as child welfare, income security, nutritional support, and employment training. He previously served as a consultant to the non-profit Case Commons, Inc., where he helped further the use of Casebook, a collaborative, family-centered case management system for child welfare work.

From 2009 to 2011, Hansell served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At HHS, Hansell helped oversee a division with an approximately $50 billion annual budget and managed a staff of approximately 1,400 employees across headquarters and ten regional offices. His areas of responsibilities included child welfare, economic support, early childhood education, and special population programs. In his role, Hansell helped implement the “Fostering Connections to Success Act”, which incentivized state child welfare systems to create new kinship care arrangements, improve services for older foster care youth, and enhance educational continuity for children in the foster care system.

In 2007, Hansell was appointed by former New York State Governor Elliot Spitzer as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, becoming the first openly gay man to become a commissioner in the state of New York. For the next three years, he oversaw a roughly $5 billion budget, with responsibility for administering New York State’s public assistance, food stamp, child support, and homeless housing programs, among others. He supervised a staff of approximately 2,400 employees, spanning offices in Albany, New York City, and across the state. In this position, Hansell helped achieve an all-time high level of household participation through the Working Families Food Stamp Initiative and helped reform New York State’s child support programs to heighten compliance and increase payments to custodial parents and children.

From 2002 to 2006, Hansell served as Chief of Staff of the New York City Human Resources Administration under Commissioner Verna Eggleston. He has also held a variety of roles in the New York City Department of Health, including Associate Commissioner of Planning and Program Implementation (2000) and Associate Commissioner of HIV Services (1997 to 2000). As part of his HIV treatment and prevention work, Hansell managed a portfolio of over $100 million in medical care and social support programs.

Hansell has served as a consultant to several non-profit, government, and philanthropic organizations on a diverse array of health and social services policy and advocacy issues. From 1998 to 1994, he served in various roles as an advocate and activist during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including Director of Legal Services and Deputy Executive Director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, which served as the largest privately-run AIDS services agency in New York. Early in his career, he served as an Associate at Berle, Kass & Case, specializing in environmental and land use law, and as a law clerk for Judge Irving R. Kaufman of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is a former aide to U.S. Senators Donald Riegle, Jr. and Carl Levin and began his career as a sixth grade teacher in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hansell, 63, received his JD from Yale Law School, where he served as an Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Haverford College with a BA in Psychology.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Managing Director Of Investment Bank Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison For Insider Trading

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SEAN STEWART, a former managing director at an investment advisory firm headquartered in Manhattan, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain for tipping his father and co-defendant Robert Stewart with inside information about five health care company mergers and acquisitions before they were publicly announced.  SEAN STEWART was convicted after a jury trial that ended on August 17, 2016. 
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As proven at trial, Sean Stewart used his position as an investment banker to feed confidential inside information about clients to his father so that he could profit illegally from well-timed trades.  Despite his various efforts to cover-up his scheme, including claiming he did not recognize his own father’s name on a FINRA list of those who had traded in advance of an acquisition, Stewart has been held to account by a jury and sentenced to three years in federal prison.  This case and today’s sentence is a victory for all who believe in a fair securities market.” 
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment as well as the evidence presented during trial:
In early 2011, SEAN STEWART, who at the time held the position of Vice President in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group of a global bank headquartered in Manhattan (“Investment Bank A”), began tipping his father, Robert Stewart, with material nonpublic information about upcoming mergers and acquisitions, including with the names of the companies that were acquisition targets, both when the target was an Investment Bank A client and when the bank represented the acquirer, as well as with information that indicated the likely timing of an upcoming deal. 
The first of these deals involved the acquisition of Kendle International Inc. by INC Research, LLC, which was announced publicly on May 4, 2011.  SEAN STEWART worked on the deal, representing Kendle.  Robert Stewart made about $7,900 in profits on purchases of Kendle stock executed in February and March of 2011.  When questioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission about his Kendle trades in May 2013, Robert Stewart reported that he used the proceeds of those trades to pay expenses related to SEAN STEWART’s June 2011 wedding.    
The second deal about which SEAN STEWART tipped Robert Stewart was the acquisition of Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (“KCI”) by Apax Partners, announced on July 13, 2011.  Although Robert Stewart purchased some stock in KCI based on SEAN STEWART’s tip, he sold that stock before the acquisition was announced, around the same time that SEAN STEWART learned the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) was conducting an inquiry into Robert Stewart’s Kendle trading. 
Also around this time, in the spring of 2011, Robert Stewart expressed a concern to co-conspirator Richard Cunniffe that Robert Stewart was “too close to the source” to be trading in KCI stock his own account, and asked Cunniffe to make purchases of KCI call options for Robert Stewart in Cunniffe’s brokerage account.  Cunniffe agreed to do so, and also mirrored for his own benefit the KCI trades that Robert Stewart was directing.
In connection with the FINRA inquiry, FINRA prepared a list of persons and entities that had traded in advance of the Kendle deal.  The list included Robert Stewart’s name.  When Investment Bank A asked SEAN STEWART whether he knew anyone on the list, he initially denied recognizing the name of his father; later, when confronted by lawyers from Investment Bank A, SEAN STEWART acknowledged that his father was on the list but told a series of lies designed to make it seem as if Robert Stewart had independently decided to invest in Kendle.  SEAN STEWART told these lies one day after meeting with his father to apprise his father of the FINRA inquiry and to get their stories straight. 
When the KCI/Apax Partners deal was announced, Robert Stewart and Cunniffe reaped profits totaling approximately $107,790.  At around this time, Robert Stewart told Cunniffe that the source of the KCI tip and the earlier Kendle tip had been Robert’s son.  Later, around the spring of 2012, Robert Stewart clarified for Cunniffe that the son in question was SEAN STEWART, who worked on the “sell side” on Wall Street.
In October 2011, SEAN STEWART left Investment Bank A.  A few months later, he joined an investment banking advisory firm headquartered in Manhattan (“Investment Bank B”) as a managing director.
During SEAN STEWART’s tenure with Investment Bank B, based on tips concerning nonpublic acquisition-related information supplied by SEAN STEWART, Robert Stewart had Cunniffe conduct options trading in advance of the public announcements of three more deals: (1) the acquisition of Gen-Probe Inc. by Hologic, Inc., announced on April 30, 2012; (2) the acquisition, by tender offer, of Lincare Holdings Inc. by Linde AG, announced on July 1, 2012; and (3) the acquisition of CareFusion Corp. by Becton, Dickinson & Co. (“Becton”), announced on October 5, 2014.  Investment Bank B represented Hologic in connection with its acquisition of Gen-Probe; Linde in connection with its acquisition of Lincare; and CareFusion in connection with its acquisition by Becton.  The profits that Robert Stewart and Cunniffe reaped from illegal insider trading in advance of the announcements of these three deals totaled over $1 million. 
During the course of the scheme, SEAN STEWART became aware that his father was having financial problems.  Rather than loan his father money, SEAN STEWART gave his father stock tips, the proceeds of which Robert Stewart used to benefit himself and his son.
In March and April of 2015, Cunniffe, who was then cooperating with the Government, recorded meetings he had with Robert Stewart.  During one such meeting, Robert Stewart accepted a payment of $2,500 cash from Cunniffe, which was the balance of the proceeds owed to Robert Stewart for profitable trading executed in Cunniffe’s account in advance of the CareFusion acquisition announcement.  Also during this meeting, Robert Stewart admitted that SEAN STEWART once chastised him for failing to make use of a tip, saying, “I can’t believe I handed you this on a silver platter and you didn’t invest in it.”  
In addition to his prison sentence, SEAN STEWART, 35, of New York, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release, which includes one year of home detention.  Judge Swain will set a restitution amount at a future proceeding. 
Robert Stewart pled guilty on August 12, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and fraud in connection with a tender offer and was sentenced to four years’ probation, with the first year to be served in home detention, and $150,000 in forfeiture.
Richard Cunniffe pled guilty on May 12, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and fraud in connection with a tender offer, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, three counts of securities fraud, and one count of fraud in connection with a tender offer.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and also thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

Father And Son Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court For Market Manipulation Scheme

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOHN GALANIS and his son DEREK GALANIS were each sentenced today to six years in prison for manipulating the market for Gerova Financial Group, Ltd. (“Gerova”), a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and defrauding the shareholders of that company. JOHN GALANIS and DEREK GALANIS each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud, on July 20, 2016, and August 15, 2016, respectively. Both were sentenced today by United States District Judge P. Kevin Castel.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “John and Derek Galanis conspired to have more than $70 million worth of stock issued, hiding Jason Galanis’s control of those shares, so that they could cash out at the expense of unwitting victim investors. Today, they have been sentenced to prison for their securities fraud.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment filed against JOHN GALANIS, DEREK GALANIS, and their co-conspirators, and statements made in related court filings and proceedings:
The Gerova Scheme
From 2009 to 2011, JOHN GALANIS, DEREK GALANIS, and co-conspirators Jason Galanis, Gary Hirst, Ymer Shahini, and Gavin Hamels, engaged in a scheme to defraud the shareholders of Gerova, and the investing public, by effecting securities transactions in Gerova stock for the purpose of conferring millions of dollars of undisclosed remuneration on the co-conspirators, without adequate disclosure of Jason Galanis’s role in directing the transactions or the benefits received by Jason Galanis and his co-conspirators.
As a part of the scheme to defraud, Jason Galanis obtained sufficient control over Gerova to be able to cause Gerova to enter into transactions of his design, and for his benefit, including the issuance of Gerova stock. Jason Galanis obtained this control without causing himself to be identified as an officer or director of Gerova in order to appear to abide by an SEC-imposed bar that forbade him from holding such positions at publicly traded companies. Among other means and methods, Jason Galanis, with the assistance of Hirst, caused over five million shares of Gerova stock, which represented nearly half the company’s public float and which were intended for Jason Galanis’s ultimate benefit, to be issued to and held in the name of Ymer Shahini, who knowingly served as a foreign nominee for Jason Galanis. DEREK GALANIS recruited his longstanding friend Shahini to the scheme, telling Shahini in an email, “All we need is a foreign national we trust which is where you come in my friend.” DEREK GALANIS, JOHN GALANIS, Jason Galanis, Hirst, and Shahini understood that the purpose of the stock grant to Shahini was to disguise Jason Galanis’s ownership interest in the stock, and to evade the SEC’s regulations for issuing unregistered shares of stock.
At the same time, and as a further part of the scheme to defraud, JOHN GALANIS, with the assistance of DEREK GALANIS and the knowledge and approval of Jason Galanis, opened and managed brokerage accounts in the name of Shahini (the “Shahini Accounts”), effected the sale of Gerova stock from the Shahini Accounts, and received and concealed the proceeds, knowing that this activity was designed to conceal from the investing public Jason Galanis’s ownership of and control over the Gerova stock.
Jason Galanis, among others, also fraudulently induced investment advisers, including Gavin Hamels, to purchase shares of Gerova stock in the investment advisers’ client accounts by offering compensation and/or other benefits to the respective investment adviser. JOHN GALANIS and Jason Galanis thereafter coordinated the purchase of Gerova stock at the time, quantity, and/or price of their choosing, thus effectuating the sale of large quantities of Gerova stock from the Shahini Accounts while artificially maintaining the price of Gerova stock through match trading. Such coordinated trading served to manipulate the market for Gerova stock and deceive the investing public. In total, JOHN GALANIS, DEREK GALANIS, Jason Galanis, and their co-conspirators sold nearly $20 million worth of Gerova shares from the Shahini accounts for their own benefit.
In addition to the prison terms, JOHN GALANIS, 73, and DEREK GALANIS, 44, were each sentenced to three years of supervised release, and each ordered to forfeit $19,038,650.53. Judge Castel will set a restitution amount for each at a future proceeding.
Jason Galanis, who pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of securities fraud, and one count of investment adviser fraud, was sentenced to a term of 135 months in prison on February 15, 2017. Jared Galanis, who pled guilty to misprision of a felony, was sentenced to a term of 150 days in prison on January 11, 2017. Gary Hirst, who was found guilty after trial of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17, 2017. Defendant Ymer Shahini remains a fugitive. The allegations contained in the Indictment as to Shahini are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and thanked the SEC.
The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.