A former Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) executive could have walked out of a courtroom yesterday facing more than three years in prison for insider trading. But he was sentenced to one year and one day behind bars after pleading guilty to profiting off private information about Bristol-Myers M&A action.
Robert Ramnarine, 46, admitted to one count of securities fraud in June, for trading in Amylin Pharmaceuticals stock options as Bristol-Myers prepared to buy the diabetes-drug specialist last year. Prosecutors said he made more than $300,000 from his options trades, not only related to the Amylin deal, but to two other companies BMS was interested in buying, ZymoGenetics and Pharmasset.
Ramnarine worked at Bristol-Myers for 15 years, most recently as assistant treasurer for capital markets in the company's pension and savings investments office in New Jersey. He learned about Bristol-Myers' deal plans because he was charged with researching the M&A targets' pension investments. After his one-year prison sentence, he will have to serve two years of supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine. In a separate civil case, he forfeited $324,777.
"Mr. Ramnarine is gratified that the court imposed a sentence significantly below that recommended by the sentencing guidelines," his lawyer Douglas Jensen told Reuters. "He fully disgorged the profits from the trading at issue and accepts the court's judgment."
Ramnarine isn't the first Bristol-Myers executive to plead guilty to a crime. Andrew Bodnar, who worked a side deal in a lawsuit over Apotex's generic version of the blood-thinner Plavix, paid a $1 million fine--and at a judge's order, wrote a book about his experiences.
- read the Reuters news
Special Reports: Top Biopharma M&A Deals 2012 - BMS/AstraZeneca and Amylin | Top M&A Dealmakers in Biopharma