Canadian accused by U.S. of high-speed trading scheme pleads guilty

Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:41am EDT
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By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) - U.S. authorities have secured a guilty plea in a first-of-its-kind criminal case against a Canadian man accused of manipulating stock prices through an illicit, high-speed trading strategy.

Aleksandr Milrud, 50, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud on Thursday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, for orchestrating a so-called "layering" or "spoofing" scheme that netted $1.9 million in profits.

"Mr. Milrud has accepted responsibility for his conduct and looks forward to putting this matter behind him," Michael Bachner, his lawyer, said in an email Monday.

Milrud, a Canadian citizen who resides in Ontario, Canada, and Aventura, Florida, faces up to 4-3/4 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, Bachner said.

Milrud, who in court papers describes himself as a day trader, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 16.

A spokesman for New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, whose office brought the case, had no immediate comment.

The plea came in the first federal securities fraud prosecution involving layering, or spoofing, where traders place and then quickly cancel orders to create a false impression of demand.

The case, announced in January, came after the publication of Michael Lewis's 2014 bestseller "Flash Boys," which contended the markets were rigged in favor of high-speed traders and prompted debate over the fairness of the U.S. stock markets.   Continued...