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Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Office of External Affairs (202) 418-5080
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1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581

Release: 5078-05
For Release: May 20, 2005

FORMER WILLIAMS NATURAL GAS TRADER AGREES TO COOPERATE WITH GOVERNMENT

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Continues Probe Into Illegal Conduct by Natural Gas Traders

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that on May 20, 2005, it filed an action and simultaneously issued an administrative settlement order against Brion Scott McKenna, a former natural gas trader for Williams Energy Marketing and Trading (Williams). McKenna, without admitting or denying the allegations against him, agreed, in connection with this proceeding and any related inquiry, to cooperate fully with the CFTC and other federal authorities. As part of the settlement order, the CFTC revoked McKenna’s registration for three years.
 
The CFTC’s action is a result of McKenna’s guilty plea in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to felony violation involving manipulation of the Commodity Exchange Act while employed as a natural gas trader at Williams. The Commission previously sued and settled with Williams in July 2003 (see CFTC News Release 4824-03, July 29, 2003) for submitting false natural gas trading information, including price and volume information, to certain reporting firms in order to skew published indices for Williams’ financial benefit. Williams paid a civil monetary penalty of $20 million to settle the action.

Gregory G. Mocek, Director of the Division of Enforcement, stated: “Mr. McKenna has taken the first step in righting a wrong he committed by pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with law enforcement.”

The CFTC applauds the efforts of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their efforts in this matter.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members were responsible for this case: Elizabeth C. Brennan, Steven Ringer, Lenel Hickson, Jr., Stephen J. Obie, and Richard Wagner.

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Media Contacts
Alan Sobba
(202) 418-5080
Dennis Holden
(202) 418-5088
CFTC Office of External Affairs

Staff Contact
Stephen Obie
Regional Counsel and Associate Director
CFTC Division of Enforcement
646-746-9766

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