Proxy Firm Workers Charged in Tickets-for-Data Scheme

  • Five employees charged with conspiring to bribe worker
  • Wall Street Journal identified solicitation firm as Georgeson

Five employees at proxy solicitation firm Georgeson Inc. are accused of illegally trading tickets to events including concerts, Major League Baseball games and National Basketball Association contests for information about shareholder votes.

The five current and former workers allegedly bribed a worker at proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., federal prosecutors in Boston said. The companies weren’t named in court papers. A person familiar with the case identified the firms.

Information obtained by the Georgeson workers could help the firm and its clients determine whether particular shareholder proposals are likely to pass or fail, influencing their strategies for trying to affect the outcome of votes, prosecutors said.

“With tickets to expensive concerts and sporting events -- which in some instances, they billed to their own clients using falsified invoices -- the defendants are alleged to have bought confidential shareholder data and voting information they could not otherwise obtain,” Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the charges earlier, citing people familiar with the matter.

Georgeson, a unit of Computershare Ltd., said in a statement Tuesday that the activity in question occurred between September 2007 and March 2012. The company said in the statement that it alerted authorities after discovering the conduct. Georgeson isn’t charged in the case.

The former ISS employee, Brian Bennett, pleaded guilty to conspiracy last year. ISS spokesman Subodh Mishra declined to comment on the charges.

The case is USA v. Ackerly, 1:16-mj-02042, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).