Trader Indicted for Commodities Insider Trading Scheme

Trader Indicted for Commodities Insider Trading Scheme

(STL.News) A federal grand jury in Houston returned an indictment on Dec. 7 charging a natural gas trader for an insider trading scheme involving natural gas futures.

According to court documents, Peter Miller, 41, of Puerto Rico, worked as a natural gas trader for his own company, Omerta Capital LLC. Miller conspired with others to misappropriate material, nonpublic information and to engage in fraudulent, noncompetitive trades, including prearranged trades, in natural gas futures contracts for their own personal gain.  Miller and his co-conspirators caused prices to be reported, recorded, and registered on designated commodities markets that were not true, bona fide prices.  The profits from these fraudulent trades were split among Miller and his co-conspirators.

In four related cases, Marcus Schultz, 41, of Houston, Texas; John Ed James, 51, of Katy, Texas; Mathew Webb, 51, of Tiki Island, Texas; and Lee Tippett, 62, of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty on July 20, 2020, Feb. 1, 2021, June 15, 2021, and Aug. 17, 2021, respectively.  Schultz pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate various provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act.  James pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and wire fraud.  Webb pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and wire fraud and to violate various provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act.  Tippett pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and honest services wire fraud.

Miller is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and four counts of commodities fraud.  The defendant is scheduled for his initial court appearance on Dec. 16 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina A. Bryan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  If convicted, he faces a maximum total penalty of 25 years in prison per count.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U. S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery for the Southern District of Texas; Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Richard Gross of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI’s Houston Field Office and IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office are investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Leslie S. Garthwaite and Della Sentilles of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Deputy Chief Suzanne Elmilady and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zahra Fenelon of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today