WASHINGTON — The sentencing dates of more convicted municipal bond bid-riggers have been pushed back, according to documents filed with the U.S. district Courts for the Southern District of New York and Western District of North Carolina, as prosecutors seek stiffer penalties for price-fixing of investment contracts.
Former J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. executive James Hertz, who was to be sentenced on June 28, and Mark Zaino, a former UBS employee who had a July 8 sentencing date, had their hearings delayed to July 29 and Sept. 17, respectively. David Rubin of CDR Financial Products Inc., will hear his fate Oct. 18, while CDR executives Douglas Goldberg and Daniel Moshe Naeh's date has been pushed back to March 20, 2014. The CDR executives' hearings were pushed back from April 11.
Former Bank of America traders Douglas Lee Campbell and Brian Scott Zwerner, who had been scheduled for March 15 and July 19 respectively, will get their sentences on Feb. 18 and March 19 of next year, according to court filings.
The men have all been convicted of conspiring to rig bids for municipal bond investment contracts, often offering "last looks" at competitors' bids They join ex-UBS AG managing director Peter Ghavami and former colleagues Michael Welty and Gary Heinz, who previously had their sentencing dates pushed back from March until July 23 and 24th, according to attorneys involved.
Ghavami, Welty and Heinz will have a lot on the line, as lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice have requested that they receive prison terms of more than 16 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Such penalties would far outstrip the sentences of other convicted bid-riggers, many of whom pled guilty and cooperated with prosecutors and were rewarded with sentences of less than one year in prison. White collar crime experts have said the convicted men are unlikely to be sentenced as harshly as the government recommends.
Campbell's date was moved so he could testify against another Bank of America executive, Phillip Dennis Murphy, whose trial was set to begin in February of next year after he waived his right to a speedy trial citing the need to review 12 million documents and 560,000 audio files produced during the evidence discovery process.
A source familiar with the government's approach in white collar criminal prosecutions, who did not wish to be identified, said it is not unusual for convicted offenders to receive several sentencing delays, particularly if cooperating in the prosecution of a co-conspirator. In such cases, the source said, the government recognizes that the cooperation should be allowed to come in to play at the defendant's own sentencing.
"The theory is that the judge can decide what kind of benefit the cooperator receives," the source said.