TRENTON, N.J. – A former executive with global pharmaceuticals giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMS) was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison for trading on inside information regarding a public company that BMS was in the process of acquiring, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Robert Ramnarine, 46, of East Brunswick, N.J., previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to an information charging him with securities fraud. Judge Thompson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ramnarine was employed by BMS from 1997 to August 2012. From March 2008 on, he held a variety of high-level, executive positions at the company, including director of Pensions and Savings Investments (March 2008-June 2011), executive director of Pensions and Savings Investments (June 2011-July 2012) and assistant treasurer for Capital Markets (July 2012-August 2012). As a result of holding these positions, Ramnarine was involved in evaluating potential acquisition targets for BMS, including publicly traded companies, and was privy to inside company information concerning such transactions. He was legally banned from disclosing confidential information and material, nonpublic information he learned through his employment or from using such information for his personal benefit or the benefit of others.
During May and June 2012, Ramnarine traded on material, nonpublic information regarding the company’s anticipated acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., a publicly traded company. The material, nonpublic information available to Ramnarine enabled him to reap substantial profits by engaging in lucrative trading in stock options of Amylin shortly before BMS announced its plans to acquire Amylin in late June 2012. As part of his plea, Ramnarine admitted for purposes of sentencing that his relevant criminal conduct includes $311,361 in illicit gains he made from trading in stock options of Amylin and several other BMS acquisition targets – ZymoGenentics Inc. and Pharmasset Inc., a company for which BMS submitted a bid through a confidential auction process, but which was subsequently acquired by Gilead Sciences.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Thompson sentenced Ramnarine to serve two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine. Ramnarine also forfeited $324,777 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence. He also thanked the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit and Philadelphia Regional Office, under the direction of Daniel M. Hawke, for its assistance, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., for its cooperation during the investigation.
The government is represented by Deputy Chief Gurbir S. Grewal and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mala Ahuja Harker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’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. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.