Investment Bank Financial Adviser Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Illegally Accessing Confidential Client Information
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriquez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that GALEN MARSH, a private wealth management adviser, pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to obtaining confidential client information from his employer, a multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Manhattan (the “Bank”), by gaining unauthorized access to certain of the Bank’s computer systems. Marsh pled guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a computer before U.S. District Judge Kevin Thomas Duffy.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Galen Marsh has admitted that he accessed confidential and private account information of hundreds of thousands of his employer’s clients without authorization and to use it for his personal advantage. Accessing such confidential information through a bank’s computer systems is a federal crime and one to which Marsh has now pled guilty.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriquez said: “Marsh obtained unauthorized access to confidential data on approximately 730,000 clients from his then-employer. Marsh’s illegal access of this data put the confidential information of those clients at risk when he put the information on his personal server. Today’s guilty plea should send a message to those who inappropriately obtain and mishandle sensitive information that such actions may not just be improper, they can also be criminal.”
According to the Information and statements made at today’s plea hearing:
MARSH was employed in the private wealth management division of the Bank, initially as a Customer Service Associate (“CSA”) and then as a Financial Advisor (“FA”). In that capacity, MARSH worked as part of a group of CSAs and FAs at the Bank’s Manhattan office (the “Group”) that provided financial and investment services to particular private wealth management clients of the Bank. Other similarly structured groups within the private wealth management division provided the same services to the Bank’s other private wealth management clients (together with the Group’s clients, the “Clients”).
The Bank maintained certain computer systems to manage confidential account information regarding the Clients. Like other FAs and CSAs, MARSH was authorized to access the Client information maintained in the Bank’s computer systems only with respect to Clients of his own Group. From June 2011 through December 2014, MARSH used the Bank’s computer systems to access, without permission or authority, confidential information about certain Clients serviced by FAs and CSAs outside of his Group. In order to obtain this unauthorized access to confidential Client information, MARSH used the identification numbers of other Bank branches, groups, and FAs in the Bank’s computer systems. MARSH conducted a total of approximately 6,000 unauthorized searches in the Bank’s computer systems, and thereby obtained confidential Client information, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, account numbers, fixed-income investment information, and account values, of approximately 730,000 Client accounts at the Bank. Over a series of dates from June 2011 through December 2014, MARSH uploaded the confidential Client information from the Bank to a personal server at his home in New Jersey.
MARSH illegally accessed the Bank’s confidential client information in order to use it for his personal advantage as a private wealth management adviser at the Bank. From October 2013 through December 2014, MARSH was engaged in discussions regarding potential employment with two other financial institutions that are competitors of the Bank.
MARSH, 31, of Hoboken, New Jersey, faces a maximum of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. MARSH is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Duffy on Monday, December 7, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Christine Magdo is in charge of the prosecution.