United States District Judge Andre M. Davis dismissed all remaining civil charges last week against former Bank of America executive Charles Bryceland on mutual fund timing and late trading. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD and New York Attorney General have never charged Bryceland, he was named and then dropped as a defendant in a number of earlier cases.
Despite reports that Bryceland and BoA mutual fund chief Robert Gordon were fired for their involvement in the illegal trades, Bryceland's attorney said his client 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, Jr., 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 last Tuesday. Sihpol has 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, and filed a motion to have his trial dismissed. Judge Yates, who is scheduled to rule on that motion on March 7, 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. But Assistant U.S. Attorney General Harold Wilson told Yates that Sihpol intentionally accepted orders placed after the 4 p.m. market close.