Insurance exec indicted over Delta Petroleum trading

A Denver insurance executive has been indicted for allegedly profiting from insider trading through confidential information provided to him by an executive of the now-defunct Delta Petroleum Corp.
Michael Van Gilder, 45, of Denver, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on five counts of insider trading, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney John Walsh and the FBI.

The allegations include alleged profiteering based on advanced knowledge that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. planned to make a major purchase of stock from Delta.

Delta owned oil and gas interests based in the Collbran area of Mesa County. This summer it completed a bankruptcy reorganization plan, changed its name to Par Petroleum Corp., and entered into a joint venture with Laramie Energy II in which they pooled their assets in Mesa and Garfield counties under an entity called Piceance Energy, LLC.

Van Gilder surrendered to the FBI this morning, federal authorities said. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 100 years in federal prison and up to $25 million in fines. Also today the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint charging Van Gilder with civil insider trading violations.

According to the indictment, Van Gilder had been the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Van Gilder Insurance Co., which is owned by his family. The company said in a news release Thursday that he resigned as CEO for personal reasons.

The indictment said Van Gilder was a close friend of the Delta executive who supplied him with information. It didn’t identify the executive by name, and made no mention of whether charges are being contemplated against the executive.

“I can only say that the investigation in general continues,” said Jeff Dorschner, a Department of Justice spokesman.


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