FDA chemist faces trading charges

April 6, 2011

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chemist and his son with turning inside information about drug approvals into more than $3.6 million in profits, Reuters reports.

Washington - The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chemist and his son with turning inside information about drug approvals into more than $3.6 million in profits, Reuters reports.

Cheng Yi Liang, 57, and son Andrew, 25, are charged with illegally trading in advance of at least 27 public announcements about 19 publicly held companies, according to the Boston Globe.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Maryland, the SEC stated, “Liang's conduct was calculated, repeated and egregious. Liang was a serial insider trader who violated the public’s trust for his own profit on numerous occasions.”

The Justice Department also charged the pair with conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud for making $2.27 million in trades involving five pharmaceutical companies between November 2007 and March 2011.

According to Reuters, information about prescription drugs can spur substantial stock swings and has been the subject of other insider trading cases - but cases involving a government employee are rare. A scandal in the 1980s involved FDA employees accepting cash and other gifts from makers of generic drugs, but that case did not involve insider trading.