United States District Judge Andre M. Davis dismissed all remaining civil charges Tuesday against Charles Bryceland, a former Bank of America executive, on mutual fund timing and late trading. Although the SEC, NASD and the New York Attorney General have never charged Bryceland, he was named and then dropped as a defendant in a number of earlier cases.
Although it was widely reported that Bryceland and BoA mutual fund chief Robert Gordon were fired for their involvement in the illegal trades, Bryceland's attorney said Tuesday that he resigned for reasons unrelated to the scandal and, in fact, had tendered his resignation a full eight months before the case broke.
Meanwhile, the case against Theodore Sihpol, a BoA broker who reported to Bryceland, will likely go to trial, New York Supreme Court Justice James Yates said during a 35-minute hearing Tuesday. Last April, Sihpol pleaded not guilty to 40 counts of fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records, with each of the larceny counts carrying up to 25 years in jail. He since filed a motion to have his trial dismissed. Although Yates is not scheduled to rule on that motion until March 7, the judge indicated several times during the hearing that a jury should hear the case. If he rules in favor of a trial, it will begin on April 26.
Sihpol's attorney, Evan Stewart, continues to maintain that there has never been any clear-cut regulation precluding a brokerage or clearing firm from processing fund trades placed before 4 p.m. after that time. "This is an extraordinary prosecution," Stewart said. But Assistant U.S. Attorney General Harold Wilson told Yates that Sihpol purposely received trades well after the 4 p.m. market close. "They had no interest in getting tomorrow's NAV," Wilson said of BoA client Canary Capital Partners. "The last thing in the world they wanted was tomorrow's price."