CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 20 (Reuters) - A former Bank of
America Corp executive was indicted for his role in a
wide-ranging scheme to fraudulently rig the bidding on contracts
that state and local governments use to invest municipal bond
proceeds, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Friday.
The indictment filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in
Charlotte, North Carolina, charged Phillip D. Murphy with two
counts of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud for activities
that stretched from as early as 1998 until 2006.
The Justice Department did not identify Murphy's former
employer. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records
indicate Murphy worked at Bank of America's securities unit from
1998 to 2002 and that he had been under investigation for bid
rigging since 2007.
The charges are the latest in a broad government
investigation of the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market
that has focused on rooting out schemes to fix prices and rig
bids on bond transactions.
Bank of America agreed in 2010 to pay $137 million in
restitution as part of a 2007 leniency agreement with the U.S.
Justice Department that allowed it to avoid criminal
prosecution. Other major banks have also reached settlements.
Bank of America spokesman Bill Halldin declined to comment.
Murphy could not immediately be reached.
The Justice Department said 13 individuals and one company
have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the ongoing
investigation. A former JPMorgan Chase & Co banker pleaded
guilty on Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire
fraud for manipulating the bidding for a June 2002 contract.
(Reporting By Rick Rothacker)
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