URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: FDA Chemist Cheng Yi Liang Pleads Guilty In Insider Trading Case; ‘Shocking Abuse Of Trust,’ Feds Say Of Schemer’s Plot To Use Database To Harvest Illegal Profits

>> BULLETIN >> MOVING: Cheng Yi Liang, the FDA chemist accused in March of mining the agency’s database for drug approvals or denials and using the information to make insider trades, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and failing to disclose illicit profits.

Liang, 57, of Gaithersburg, Md., faces a maximum term of 25 years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9. The case was one that embarrassed the FDA and its employees, but one that exposed the corruption of a federal worker who used the tools of government to line his own pockets.

The SEC simultaneously charged Liang civilly in March, opening up a second litigation front.

As part of a plea agreement in the Feds’ criminal case, Liang will forfeit $3.7 million, a home and condominium in Maryland and funds  in 10 bank or investment accounts, federal prosecutors said.

The FDA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“Profiting based on sensitive, insider information is not only illegal, but taints the image of thousands of hard-working government employees,” said Elton Malone,  special agent in charge of the HHS-Office of Inspector General Special Investigations Branch.  “We will continue to insist that federal government employee conduct be held to the highest of standards.”

“Mr. Liang used inside information about pharmaceutical companies — information he had access to solely because of his position at the FDA — to pocket millions in illicit profits,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. “In a shocking abuse of trust, Mr. Liang exploited his position as a chemist in the FDA’s Office of New Drug Quality Assessment to cash in, using the accounts of relatives and acquaintances to hide his illegal trading.  Now, like many others on Wall Street and elsewhere, he is facing the significant consequences of trading stocks on inside information.”

Breuer is head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

While employed at FDA, Liang “was required to file a Confidential Financial Disclosure form disclosing, among other things, investment assets with a value greater than $1,000 and sources of income greater than $200.,” investigators said. “During the time period of his insider trading scheme, Liang annually filed these forms and failed to disclose using the controlled accounts or his income from the illicit securities trading.”

The FBI participated in the criminal probe.

“Those who use privileged and valuable information for personal gain, break the trust placed in them as a government employee and the integrity of the research they conduct on behalf of the U.S. government,” said James W. McJunkin, assistant director in charge of the agency’s Washington Field Office.

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One Response to “URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: FDA Chemist Cheng Yi Liang Pleads Guilty In Insider Trading Case; ‘Shocking Abuse Of Trust,’ Feds Say Of Schemer’s Plot To Use Database To Harvest Illegal Profits”

  1. Justice Black said it best. “No one is above the Law.”

      (Quote)

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