From: Reuters
Published November 30, 2007 11:08 AM

Ex-Bear Stearns employee pleads guilty

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former registered representative at Bear Stearns Co Inc <BSC.N> pleaded guilty on Friday for his role in what authorities had called one of the most pervasive insider trading rings since the 1980s.

Ken Okada, 32, one of 13 people criminally charged earlier this year, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud before U.S. District Judge Denny Chin during a hearing in Manhattan.

Prosecutors said Okada had passed nonpublic information about pending deals, including the ProLogis <PLD.N> purchase of Catellus Development Corp and the UnitedHealth Group <UNH.N> merger with PacifiCare Health Systems Inc, to a relative who traded on it.

Okada also obtained insider information by observing trading by another defendant in Bear Stearns accounts and traded on it, prosecutors said.

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Under a plea agreement with the government, Okada faces a sentence of 30 months to 37 months. He is expected to be sentenced on March 5.

Okada's lawyer, Peter Quijano, said he would present the court with factors that would warrant a sentence below the guideline range.

"Mr. Okada has completely and fully accepted responsibility for his actions," Quijano said. "He is profoundly ashamed and very remorseful."

The U.S. Attorney had said that those charged in the case netted $8 million. Nine people have now pleaded guilty in the case.

(Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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