The Securities and Exchange Commission on May 31 charged a Goldman Sachs vice president of investment banking with repeatedly using his access to highly confidential information to place illicit and profitable trades in advance of deals on which the bank was providing investment banking advisory services.
On May 31, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed the criminal charges against Woojae Jung. The SEC did not name Goldman Sachs in the complaint, but rather described Jung as an employee of “a prominent investment bank,” who worked in the bank’s San Francisco and New York offices. According to records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Jung has worked at Goldman Sachs since 2012.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Jung used sensitive client information to trade in the securities of 12 different companies prior to the announcement of market-moving events. The SEC alleges that between 2015 and 2017, Jung used an account held in the name of a friend living in South Korea to place these illegal trades and generate profits of approximately $140,000.
By using his friend’s brokerage account, Jung attempted to evade detection by skirting his employer’s requirements that he pre-clear his trades and that he use an approved brokerage firm that would have reported the trading to his employer, the SEC complaint alleged.
“Jung tried to insulate himself by allegedly placing trades in the brokerage account of a friend who lived overseas,” Joseph Sansone, Chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit, said in a statement announcing the charges. “Like others before him, Jung’s alleged scheme failed when our data analysis uncovered the account’s suspicious trading pattern and, despite Jung’s attempts at evasion, traced the trading back to him.”
The SEC complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, charges Jung with fraud and seeks disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains, pre-judgment interest, penalties, and injunctive relief. The complaint also names Jung’s friend, Sungrok Hwang, as a relief defendant to have him disgorge illicit gains that Jung generated by trading in his brokerage account.