Bloomberg News

FDA Chemist Liang Faces New Insider-Trading Charges

September 26, 2011

(Updates with prosecutor motion in second paragraph.)

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. prosecutors filed new charges involving an alleged insider-trading scheme against a Food and Drug Administration chemist, a move the government said in earlier court papers would be the prelude to a plea agreement.

Cheng Yi Liang, who worked for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, was charged today in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, with one count of insider trading and one count of false statements and aiding and abetting. The charges were filed as a criminal information, which prosecutors told U.S. Magistrate Judge William Connelly in a motion last week would mean a plea agreement had been reached.

Liang is accused of reaping at least $3 million from trading on nonpublic information related to drug-approval applications. Liang faces a maximum penalty on the insider- trading charge of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine and five years on the false statements charge.

Prosecutors are seeking almost $3.8 million in forfeitures from Liang, who lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Liang and his son Andrew Liang were initially charged in March with conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud.

Plea Agreements

Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein in Baltimore, said the office never comments on plea agreements before defendants appear in court. A hearing for Liang on the new charges has yet to be scheduled, she said.

Andrew Liang pleaded guilty last week to possession of child pornography found in the course of the fraud investigation. Liang faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in December. Liang must also register as a sex offender.

Today, prosecutors filed a motion seeking to dismiss the securities case against Andrew Liang.

Cheng Yi Liang’s lawyer, Andrew Carter, didn’t immediately respond to a voicemail and an e-mail seeking comment on the filing and possible plea agreement.

The cases are U.S. v. Chen Yi Liang, 11-cr-0530; and U.S. v. Andrew Liang, 11-cr-00501, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Greenbelt).

--Editors: Mary Romano, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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