Bloomberg News

Ex-JPMorgan Banker Wright Pleads Guilty in Muni Bond Probe

July 18, 2012

Former JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) banker Alexander Wright pleaded guilty to conspiring with a former UBS AG broker in 2002 to rig bids on a bond deal involving a New Jersey hospital.

Wright, 45, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiring to commit wire fraud in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in federal court in Manhattan today. Rebecca Meiklejohn, a lawyer with the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, told Maas that Wright will testify in the criminal trial of three former UBS bankers, including Gary Heinz, whom Wright identified as his partner in the conspiracy.

Wright told Maas that in June 2002 he and Heinz agreed to fix the bidding for a transaction involving a New Jersey hospital, which he didn’t name. Wright submitted a low bid, then raised the bid to a price suggested by Heinz, so he would win on behalf of JPMorgan.

“I knew at the time that my actions were wrong and against the law,” Wright told Maas.

Wright will pay $29,600 in victim restitution under the terms of his plea agreement with prosecutors. He faces as long as five years in prison when he’s sentenced.

Peter Ghavami, former co-head of UBS’s municipal derivatives group, Heinz and Michael Welty are scheduled to be tried July 30 on bid-rigging charges.

Wright was released on $100,000 bond.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

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


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