New York Man Sentenced to 16 Months in Federal Prison for Role in $1.7 Million Insider Trading Scheme

LOS ANGELES—A former vice president in the Los Angeles office of the Lippert Heilshorn & Associates investor relations firm has been sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for providing confidential information that was used in an insider trading scheme that generated $1.7 million in illegal profits for his associates.

Zachary Bryant, 40, of Long Island City, New York, was sentenced Monday by United States District Judge John F. Walter. Bryant pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiring to commit insider trading.

While employed at Lippert Heilshorn, Bryant took $30,000 in bribes in exchange for providing confidential information on publicly traded companies. Bryant had access to the non-public information that was being used at Lippert Heilshorn to prepare press releases for corporate clients.

Bryant received the bribes from Ahmad Haris Tajyar, a securities trader who also was the owner and president of the Sherman Oaks-based investor relations firm Investor Relations International. Tajyar, 35, of Encino, used the inside information he received from Bryant to make securities trades in advance of the planned press releases, generating more than $1 million in profits from these illegal trades.

Tajyar also passed the information to others, including his cousin, Omar Tajyar, 31, of Porter Ranch; Ahmad Noory, 36, of Ladera Ranch; and Vispi Shroff, 58, of Canyon Country, each of whom traded in advance of the press releases. After the press releases were issued and the market reacted to the news, the conspirators quickly closed out trading positions, reaping huge profits in a short period of time.

Shroff pleaded guilty last year to two counts of insider trading, admitting that he received more than $165,000 in illegal profits. Shroff was sentenced by Judge Walter on March 21 to nine months in prison.

Bryant left Lippert Heilshorn in July 2007 to work at Ahmad Tajyar’s investor relations firm. Bryant admitted that when he left Lippert, he provided Ahmad Tajyar and Omar Tajyar with the password that Lippert’s employees used to remotely access their e-mail accounts at the firm. At this week’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors noted that Omar Tajyar used this password to continue to obtain inside information about Lippert clients long after Bryant left the firm. Prosecutors told Judge Walter that Omar Tajyar and Noory generated more than $1 million in illegal profits from additional trades based information stolen after Bryant left Lippert Heilshorn.

Criminal charges against Ahmad Haris Tajyar, Omar Tajyar, and Ahmad Noory are still pending in United States District Court.

The investigation into the insider trading conspiracy was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.