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Karla Dorsch is the Dubai-based Managing Director of Piedmont St. James Ltd., an executive leadership recruitment firm, which she helped found in 1999. Dorsch is a successful professional with extensive experience due to her career as a regulatory and policy analyst (she worked in this role at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Merrill Lynch Investment Bank.)
She comes from a life of privilege and wealth; news of her wedding even made it to the pages of the New York Times in 1989. But nearly a decade later, the newspaper reported on an insider trading scandal masterminded by the Dorsch family.
Dorsch, her husband at the time, Carlos Roman, and her father William Dorsch were indicted on charges of insider trading worth US$ 1.8 million.
According to a report by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, “Roman and Karla Dorsch were tipped by Lee A. Haddad, an analyst employed by Morgan Stanley, and Co., Inc., to planned corporate acquisitions … The complaint alleged that Karla Dorsch and Roman made unlawful trading profits of $714,119; that they tipped [Karla’s father] who made $1,083,250 in unlawful profits and that Roman tipped [his stockbroker] Andrew Cohen, who made $300,234 in unlawful profits.”
During the grand jury investigation, in 1994, Dorsch and her father fled to Greece, according to the New York Times. She spent for the next four years as an international fugitive, and remarried in London.
In 1998, Dorsch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in New York’s Federal District Court on the basis of the insider trading charges. While she could have received up to five years in prison, Dorsch was only sentenced to two years of probation, and spent four months of this period under home detention in London.
When explaining his leniency, Judge Lawrence McKenna remarked that Dorsch only played a “minor role” and was “manipulated by her husband,” the New York Times reported.
Her father William Dorsch, an eye doctor from California, remained at large in Europe following his daughter’s guilty plea. He finally pleaded guilty to the insider trading charges in June 1999. While he faced up to ten years in prison, he was sentenced to 27 months by a federal court in New York.
Carlos Roman was charged with the same offense and was still a fugitive as of 1999.
Karla Dorsch appears in a leaked private real estate database obtained by OCCRP in connection with an apartment at an unknown building on the Dubai Marina.
This story is part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a collaboration started by OCCRP and Transparency International. For more information, click here.