A news release from US Attorney Michael Sullivan said Skifter Ajro, 37, entered the plea before US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton to wire and securities fraud charges. Sullivan said Ajro was accused of helping to execute the trades while working at the Boston branch of Prudential Securities and Wachovia Securities (See Feds Refile Pru Market Timing Case ).
Federal prosecutors told Gorton that from approximately April 2001 through October 2003, Ajro was a member of a group of brokers who defrauded mutual fund and the companies’ mutual funds by employing various deceptive and fraudulent acts and practices. Prosecutors alleged that Ajro generated $900,000 in commissions for himself through the deals before leaving in October 2003.
Gorton scheduled sentencing for November 2, 2005. Ajro faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on each wire fraud count and 20 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $5 million fine on each securities fraud count.
Federal and state authorities have been investigating the mutual fund industry with a focus on market timing and late trading transactions as well as certain sales practices.