State Street to pay more than $64 million to resolve fraud charges
Staff Writer |
Massachusetts-based global financial services company State Street Corporation (State Street) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.
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State Street agreed to pay a $32.3 million criminal penalty to resolve charges that it engaged in a scheme to defraud a number of the bank’s clients by secretly applying commissions to billions of dollars of securities trades.
State Street also agreed to offer an equal amount as a civil penalty to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb of the District of Massachusetts and Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw of the FBI’s Boston Division announced.
According to State Street’s admissions, bank employees conspired to add secret commissions to fixed income and equity trades performed for at least six clients of the bank’s “transition management” business, which helps institutional clients move their investments between and among asset managers or liquidate large investment portfolios.
The commissions were charged on top of fees the clients had agreed to pay the bank, and despite written instructions to the bank’s traders that generally reflected that the clients were not to be charged trading commissions.
State Street employees took steps to hide the commissions from the clients. State Street also misrepresented its performance to one of these clients in order to conceal a trading loss.
State Street entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with a criminal information charging the company with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud. Pursuant to its agreement with the department, State Street agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $32.3 million.
State Street also agreed to continue to cooperate with the department and with foreign authorities in any ongoing investigations and prosecutions relating to the conduct (including of individuals); to enhance its compliance program; and to retain an independent corporate compliance monitor for a period of three years.
The department reached this resolution based on a number of factors, including that State Street has already fully repaid the clients who were victims of the scheme.
State Street did not receive credit for voluntarily disclosing the misconduct and received only partial cooperation credit because the company did not fully cooperate with the investigation from the start and also because inadequacies in its initial internal investigation prevented it from being able to timely disclose all relevant facts.
In connection with the government’s investigation, Ross McLellan and Edward Pennings ere charged on April 5, 2016, with conspiring to commit securities fraud and wire fraud as well as two counts each of securities fraud and wire fraud.
Their trial is currently scheduled for Oct. 23, 2017. The charges against McLellan and Pennings are merely allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. ■