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ImClone's Waksal Pleads Guilty - 2002-10-15


In a high-profile corporate scandal, the founder of the ImClone pharmaceutical company has entered a guilty plea for insider trading. The case is one of several recent criminal cases to have marred Wall Street.

The founder of ImClone Systems, Sam Waksal, pleaded guilty to six charges, including bank fraud, conspiracy, and perjury.

Waksal was accused of insider trading after trying to sell ImClone stock late last year and encouraging family and friends to sell millions of dollars of shares when he learned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was not going to approve his company's cancer drug.

Waksal admitted that he was wrong to act on the information, which was not public. "This has been a difficult time and a sad time for me, my family, and my friends. I have made some terrible mistakes and I deeply regret what has happened. I was wrong," Mr. Waksal said.

Waksal is the latest of several top executives to plead guilty to corporate fraud involving public companies worth billions of dollars. He faces up to 65 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Prosecutors are investigating home decorating entrepreneur and television host, Martha Stewart, who sold 4,000 shares of ImClone stock one-day before the FDA announced it would not review the drug. Federal investigators are trying to determine if Ms. Stewart lied when she said she was following her stock broker's advice to unload the shares if they fell below $60.

An assistant at brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, who already entered a guilty plea to a charge related to the scandal, has agreed to testify against Ms. Stewart if she is charged.