A second ex-El Paso Corp. natural gas trader formally plead guilty Monday in a Houston courtroom to reporting false prices to an industry publication. Under an agreement with prosecutors, Donald Guilbault, 51, pleaded guilty to one criminal count of false price reporting.

Guilbault, who appeared before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, agreed to plead guilty earlier this month and cooperate in the ongoing investigation over price manipulation in the gas market. Last week, Dallas Dean, another former trader, pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities (see Daily GPI, Oct. 15).

Guilbault and Dean were charged with reporting bogus trades to Platts Inside FERC in July 2000 (see Daily GPI, Oct. 7). William Ham was expected to plead guilty also on Monday, while Christopher Bakkenist, is expected to plead guilty this week. All four worked for El Paso’s merchant energy unit.

The four individuals received letters in August from the office of U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby informing them that they were targets of the investigation into false reporting of natural gas trading data. Several other former El Paso traders apparently also received letters, but they have not been charged.

The government’s case is similar to one against Todd Geiger, a former El Paso trader, who also was accused of providing false information on gas trades. He pleaded guilty last December and is cooperating with authorities pending his sentencing (see Daily GPI, Dec. 12, 2003).

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