Kudos to the bane of many a natural gas trader

john_lewis2 AUSA John Lewis.
Belinda Beek
AUSA Belinda Beek.

It started seven years ago this week with the indictment of El Paso natural gas trader Todd Geiger for reporting false price data to industry publications. Other companies became ensnared and the host of individuals in the crosshairs of investigators grew.
Eventually, the investigation led to criminal and/or civil cases against more than 50 individuals and companies, resulting in about a dozen guilty pleas, five convictions and more than $445 million in fines to commodity regulators.
At the center of it all were two Assistant U.S. Attorneys based in Houston, Belinda Beek and John Lewis.
They were recognzied for their work on the energy trading case this week at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys Director’s Awards Ceremony. According to the a release from the event:

Belinda A. Beek and John R. Lewis were recognized for their exemplary and sustained roles in prosecuting fraud in the energy industry in Houston. At a time when the nation’s spotlight was focused on fraudulent corporate practices and on fraudulent practices in the energy industry in particular, AUSAs Lewis and Beek engaged in a six-year effort to prosecute fraud in the energy trading industry. Their efforts resulted in convictions of a dozen natural gas traders and resulted in a significant improvement in the system by which natural gas is priced throughout the nation.

I doubt members of Houston’s defense bar made the trip for the ceremony, however.

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