Article: Bay Area oil company executive charged with market manipulation

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Bay Area oil company executive charged with market manipulation

NATE GARTRELL, 22 March 2021

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors in the Bay Area have charged a local resident with conspiracy to manipulate the oil market, a crime that prosecutors say was committed while he was a vice president at an oil company.

Emilio Collado, aka Emilio Heredia, was charged earlier this month with a single count of conspiracy. The charging records allege that since 1998, Collado worked at two oil companies, one of which bought out the other one in 2014. The companies are referred to in court records not by their names but as “Company A” and “Company B.”

The charging records allege that Collado and unnamed co-conspirators deliberately misled price assessors toward oil prices “that did not reflect legitimate forces of supply and demand.” Collado allegedly manipulated the prices depending on his company’s needs; when they were selling, the manipulated price went high, and when they were buying, it went low, prosecutors allege.

For instance, on Aug. 24, 2016, Collado allegedly shifted the price per metric ton of oil down by roughly $40, “resulting in an unlawful gain of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Company B” on that day alone, the charging records say.

Collado is set to appear in court Wednesday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer for a change of plea hearing. Generally, change of plea hearings are set when a defendant has agreed to plead guilty or no contest to a charge, though no plea deals have been announced in Collado’s case.

If he’s convicted, Collado faces a maximum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, court records show

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