The third of four former El Paso Corp. natural gas traders has pleaded guilty to making false reports to an industry publication. William Ham, 45, faces up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. He pleaded guilty late Monday in Houston, and he also agreed to cooperate with authorities in the ongoing investigation.

Ham is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18. So far, three of the four ex-traders charged by authorities earlier this month have pleaded guilty, and Christopher Bakkenist, 41, is expected to enter a plea later this week (see Daily GPI, Oct. 19). Ham was charged with one criminal count of reporting false trades to Platts’ Inside FERC in July 2000.

The office of U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby said other ex-employees still could be charged. As many as a dozen former El Paso traders received letters in August informing them that they were targets of the investigation into false reporting of natural gas trading data.

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