WASHINGTON — Three former muni bankers from UBS Financial Services Inc., including the former co-head of the muni bond reinvestment and derivatives desk, will go to trial on July 9 on charges of fraud schemes and conspiracies in connection with the bidding of investment and other contracts for municipal bonds from as early as 2001 until 2006.
The Department of Justice indicted the defendants — Peter Ghavami, a former managing director, Gary Heinz, a former vice president, and Michael Welty, a former vice president and marketer — in December 2010 as part of its ongoing probe of bid-rigging in the municipal securities market.
Stephanie Circovich, a public information officer at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, confirmed the trial date, which was set by the court Thursday.
Judge Kimba Wood is presiding over the case. All three defendants, if they do not enter into plea agreements, would go to trial on that date, Circovich said.
An attorney for Ghavami said he is working to prepare for trial.
“My client is innocent,” said Charles Stillman, a partner at Stillman & Friedman PC in New York. “And we’re going to fight this case.”
An attorney for Heinz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An attorney for Welty, Gregory Poe, a partner at Poe & Burton PLLC in Washington, declined to comment.
According to the six-count indictment, Ghavami, Heinz and Welty conspired with employees of various financial institutions to manipulate the bidding process for muni reinvestment contracts by discussing with co-conspirators the price or price level their employers intended to bid.
They also determined which financial institution would win a particular investment agreement or municipal finance contract, according to the indictment.
The trial date comes almost three weeks after two former employees and the founder of CDR Financial Products Inc. pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to three criminal counts in connection with muni bid-rigging.
Those defendants, David Rubin, CDR’s founder, Zevi Wolmark, the former chief financial officer, and Evan Zarefsky, a former vice president, face maximum penalties of 35 years in prison and $1.5 million in criminal fines.
Their trial had been scheduled to begin earlier this month.
Overall, the Justice Department has filed criminal charges against 18 mostly former executives and employees of financial services firms. Twelve, including the CDR employees, have pleaded guilty.
A separate trial of three former GE bankers, Dominick Carollo, Peter Grimm and Steven Goldberg, is scheduled to begin April 9.