MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Laurence McKeever Assent LLC Trading Sentenced to two years probation

By Chad Bray

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Laurence McKeever, a former Assent LLC employee, was sentenced to two years probation Tuesday after pleading guilty in January in an insider-trading case that revolved around nonpublic information from Morgan Stanley (MS) and UBS AG (UBS).

At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska in Manhattan also ordered McKeever to pay a $3,000 fine and forfeit $30,000.

"Larry McKeever is very appreciative of the chance the court has given him to rebuild his life, and is humbled by the loving support of his family and friends through this difficult year," said Michael Grudberg, McKeever's lawyer, in a statement.

McKeever pleaded guilty to conspiracy in January.

Prosecutors had described him as a former registered representative at the brokerage firm, but McKeever described himself in January as a one-time compliance officer at its Hoboken, N.J., office.

McKeever is one of 13 people who have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in two separate schemes to use inside information to make improper trades ahead of public announcements of stock recommendations by UBS analysts and ahead of news of pending mergers and acquisitions in which Morgan Stanley was an advisor.

In October, Randi E. Collotta, a one-time Morgan Stanley compliance officer, and her husband, Christopher, were each ordered to serve six months home confinement and sentenced to a term of probation after pleading guilty in the case.

In December, Marc Jurman, a Florida broker, was sentenced to two years of probation. Jurman pleaded guilty in the case and cooperated with the government.

In February, Paul Risoli, a former registered representative at Bank of America Corp.'s (BAC) securities unit, was sentenced to seven months in prison in a kickback scheme related to the case.

Earlier this month, Ken Okada, a one-time Bear Stearns Cos. (BSC) registered representative, was sentenced to three years probation after pleaded guilty last November.

Prosecutors had alleged that McKeever and Samuel W. Childs Jr., another Assent employee, each received about $30,000 in kickbacks between August 2006 and November 2006 for concealing trades made by customers based on the UBS inside information from higher-level management at Assent. Childs pleaded guilty to conspiracy in April and is awaiting sentencing.

The government had alleged the men agreed to conceal an insider-trading scheme by David Glass, the operator of Jasper Capital, and David Tavdy, a former securities trader, according to court documents.

Glass agreed at the time to pay a total of about $100,000 to Childs and about $50,000 to McKeever to conceal the scheme, prosecutors said. Glass and Tavdy have both pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the matter.

McKeever was originally charged in March 2006 with conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of commercial bribery.

-By Chad Bray, Dow Jones Newswires
UPDATE: Ex-Assent Employee Gets Probation In Insider Case

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