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Former U.S. Fed employee pleads guilty to stealing bank stress test data

EconomyMar 19, 2021 04:00PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - A former Federal Reserve employee pleaded guilty to stealing dozens of restricted documents, including bank stress test data, after he decided to leave the board following a poor performance review, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

Venkatesh Rao, 67, admitted on Thursday to one count of theft of government property at a hearing in the federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Prosecutors said Rao entered the Federal Reserve building in Washington 16 times on weekend days in November 2019, printed more than 50 restricted documents from his workstation, and took them to his home in Bethesda, Maryland. They did not say how he planned to use the documents.

"He authored these materials, copied them and took them home because he wanted to have them," Rao's lawyer G. Allen Dale said in a phone interview. "He wasn't going to do anything with them. He shouldn't have copied them, and he realizes that. Hopefully it's not going to ruin his life."

Rao faces up to six months in prison under recommended federal guidelines at his scheduled May 28 sentencing.

The Fed closely guards data underlying its annual stress tests, which were created after the 2008 global financial crisis to measure the ability of major banks to weather sudden economic crises and liquidity crunches.

In 2020, the Fed conducted two stress tests, to assess how well banks could manage severe downturns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The case is U.S. v. Rao, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, No. 21-cr-00030.

Former U.S. Fed employee pleads guilty to stealing bank stress test data
 

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Comments (4)
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Mar 19, 2021 4:24PM ET
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He should be punished severely - the only people who are supposed to have access to this data before it's officially released are Congressman and Senators, so they can trade on the news ahead of everyone else.
James Leonard
James Leonard Mar 19, 2021 3:51PM ET
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Hillary's crimes with her server were infinitely more serious and nothing was done about it. Why is Rao in trouble?
James Leonard
James Leonard Mar 19, 2021 3:50PM ET
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Hillary's crimes with her server were infinitely more serious and nothing was done about it. Why is Rao in trouble?
John Miller
John Miller Mar 19, 2021 3:33PM ET
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Why is the govt involved? I thought the FED was an independent corporate entity.
 
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