A compliance officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission held stocks he was barred from owning by ethical rules and was charged with lying about it, federal authorities said Tuesday.
Steven Gilchrist, 48, of Bethpage, was arraigned Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan on three counts of making false statements and was released on his own recognizance. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
As a compliance officer since 1996, Gilchrist was supposed to make sure broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies and others complied with the nation's securities laws.
But he flouted his own agency's rules, which changed in 2010 to prevent conflict of interest problems by barring employees from owning stocks and securities in companies regulated by the commission, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and SEC Inspector General Carl W. Hoecker.
Not only did Gilchrist fail to divest himself of the stocks, as the rules required, he transferred them to a new brokerage account he shared with a family member -- an account he controlled, federal officials said. He owned stocks in six different companies and also purchased new stock without getting SEC approval first, authorities said.
Starting in January, the compliance officer lied twice in online certifications to the SEC and once in writing about his stocks, investigators said.
Gilchrist and his attorney did not immediately return a call.