Ex-Bristol-Myers executive gets one year in prison for insider trading

Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:10pm EDT

(Reuters) - A former Bristol-Myers Squibb Co finance executive who pleaded guilty to insider trading was sentenced on Wednesday to one year and one day in prison, federal prosecutors said.

Robert Ramnarine of East Brunswick, New Jersey, admitted in June to one count of securities fraud for trading in Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc stock options before Bristol-Myers agreed to buy the biotechnology company in June 2012 for $5.3 billion.

Prosecutors accused the 46-year-old Ramnarine of making $311,361 of illegal profit from options trading in Amylin and two other companies that Bristol-Myers sought to buy.

Investigators said he learned about the takeovers while working in Bristol-Myers' pension and savings investments office in Princeton, New Jersey, and did Internet searches on detecting insider trading prior to some of his trades.

Ramnarine had worked for the New York-based drugmaker for 15 years, ending as assistant treasurer for capital markets.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey announced the sentencing of Ramnarine by U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton, New Jersey.

Thompson also sentenced Ramnarine to serve two years of supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine, Fishman said.

The defendant also forfeited $324,777, which includes interest, to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a parallel civil case.

Ramnarine had faced 30 months to 37 months in prison under recommended federal sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors agreed to a shorter term because of his health, according to Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Fishman.

"Mr. Ramnarine is gratified that the court imposed a sentence significantly below that recommended by the sentencing guidelines," his lawyer Douglas Jensen said in an email. "He has fully disgorged the profits from the trading at issue, and accepts the Court's judgment."

The cases are U.S. v. Ramnarine, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 13-cr-00387; and SEC v. Ramnarine in the same court, No. 12-04837.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Krista Hughes)