CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - A former Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) 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 (JPM.N) 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 in Charlotte, North Carolina; editing by Andre Grenon