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  Securities - Legal News


The smirk wiped from his face, a crying Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud Friday in a hard fall for the pharmaceutical-industry bad boy vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug.

Shkreli, the boyish-looking, 34-year-old entrepreneur dubbed the "Pharma Bro" for his loutish behavior, was handed his punishment after a hearing in which he and his attorney struggled with limited success to make him a sympathetic figure

The defendant hung his head and choked up as he admitted to many mistakes and apologized to the investors he was convicted of defrauding. At one point, a clerk handed him a box of tissues.

"I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing: The only person to blame for me being here today is me," he said. "There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli."

In the end, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto gave him a sentence that fell well short of the 15 years prosecutors wanted but was a lot longer than the 18 months his lawyer asked for. He was also fined $75,000.

He was found guilty in August of lying to investors in two failed hedged funds and cheating them out of millions. The case was unrelated to the 2015 furor in which he was accused of price-gouging, but his arrest was seen as rough justice by the many enemies he made with his smug and abrasive behavior online and off.

The judge insisted that the punishment was not about Shkreli's online antics or his raising the cost of the drug. "This case is not about Mr. Shkreli's self-cultivated public persona ... nor his controversial statements about politics or culture," Matsumoto said.

But she did say his conduct after the verdict made her doubt the sincerity of his remorse. She cited his bragging after the verdict that he would be sentenced to time served. And she quoted one piece of correspondence in which he wrote: "F--- the feds."

The judge ruled earlier that Shkreli would have to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets, including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted of buying for $2 million.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman described Shkreli as a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make his defrauded investors even wealthier. He told the court that he sometimes wants to hug Shkreli and sometimes wants to punch him , but that his outspokenness shouldn't be held against him.



Federal prosecutors in New York say a Belize resident has pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy for helping clients profit off illegal stock trades and then laundering more than $250 million.

U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers announced the plea Monday by Robert Bandfield of IPC Corp.

Capers says Bandfield, a U.S. citizen, incorporated more than 5,000 shell companies in Belize and the West Indies for securities and tax fraud schemes.

Money was laundered through pre-paid debit cards.

He faces up to 20 years in prison. He's agreed to forfeit $1 million.



A federal appeals court in New York has agreed to rehear the appeal of the insider-trading conviction of a former board member for Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday issued an order saying it will rehear the claims of Rajat Gupta (rah-JAHT' GOOP'-tah). His lawyers say his 2012 conviction on conspiracy and securities fraud charges should be tossed because he was innocent and the jury was improperly instructed.

His attorney Gary Naftalis says he is pleased with the court's ruling and believes there are meritorious issues to present on appeal.

The 57-year-old Gupta is confined to his Westport, Connecticut, home. He won't be formally finished serving a two-year prison sentence until next month.



The Supreme Court turned away an appeal from a former Toronto stockbroker convicted in a multimillion-dollar securities fraud who says federal prosecutors should have turned over documents that might have helped his defense.

The justices Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that said prosecutors didn't have to share information about the drug use of a key witness against George Georgiou. The lower court sided with prosecutors who said defense lawyers could have discovered the publicly available records on their own.

Georgiou's lawyers said prosecutors had a duty to disclose the information if they were aware of it. Several former Justice Department officials backed his claim and urged the court to take the case.

Georgiou was convicted on charges of manipulating markets of four stocks, causing $55 million in losses.



The Supreme Court said Monday it won't hear the Obama administration's appeal of a lower court ruling that made it tougher to prosecute people for trading on leaked inside information.
 
The justices let stand a decision by the federal appeals court in New York last year that threw out insider trading convictions of two high-profile hedge fund managers.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of Anthony Chiasson, of Manhattan, and Todd Newman, of Needham, Massachusetts, after finding they were too far removed from inside information to be prosecuted.

Prosecutors warned the ruling could hinder the government's campaign to curb insider trading on Wall Street, a crackdown that has resulted in more than 80 arrests and 70 convictions over several years.

Chiasson, who co-founded Level Global Investors based in Greenwich, Conn., and Newman, who had worked for Diamondback Capital Management based in Stamford, Conn., traded on tips from insiders on stock in technology companies Dell Inc. and Nvidia Corp. that generated $72 million in profits. The former portfolio managers were both convicted in December 2012.

The appeals court said prosecutors failed to present enough evidence the men willfully engaged in insider trading or conspired to break the law. It ruled that the government must show a person receiving a tip knew that an insider disclosed confidential information and that the tipster passed the information expecting a personal benefit.

In legal briefs filed with the court, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said leaving the appeals court ruling in place would "hurt market participants, disadvantage scrupulous market analysts and impair the government's ability to protect the fairness and integrity of the securities markets."

Both men have denied insider trading. Their lawyers argued that they believed they were making trades based on legitimate research.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan told reporters on a conference call Monday that the Supreme Court's decision means "that there's a category of conduct that arguably will go unpunished going forward."

"If you have a CEO who has access to material, non-published information about earnings or anything else of a very sensitive nature and decides he wants to tip a relative or a buddy or a crony, knowing that person is going to trade on it to the tune and profit of millions of dollars, we would have to think long and hard, given Newman, whether to prosecute a person like that," Bharara said.



An appeals court panel on Wednesday expressed doubts about the fairness of a prosecution that led to a prison sentence for a man convicted of defrauding a government bailout program.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had plenty of questions for a prosecutor as it conducted oral arguments in an appeal by Jesse Litvak, a bond trader on the Stamford, Connecticut, trading floor at Jefferies & Co. Inc.

Litvak, who's from New York, was sentenced last year to two years in prison after a jury convicted him of securities fraud, defrauding the Troubled Asset Relief Program and making false statements to the federal government. He has not had to serve his sentence pending appeal.

The conviction made Litvak, 40, the first person convicted of a crime related to the program, which used bailout funds in the financial meltdown to boost the economy.



A federal appeals court refused Friday to reconsider a ruling that dealt a blow to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the prosecution of insider trading on Wall Street.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a one-paragraph ruling turning down a petition from Bharara's office. It said neither the three-judge panel that made the ruling in December nor the entire court would rehear the case.

The original ruling in December reversed two convictions and appeared to narrow the definition of insider trading. It said the defendants involved — portfolio managers Anthony Chiasson of New York and Todd Newman of Needham, Massachusetts — were too far removed from the source of inside information to be prosecuted.

The court said the government's flurry of prosecutions, which produced more than 80 convictions since 2008, was "increasingly targeted at remote tippees many levels removed from corporate insiders." Prior cases generally involved defendants directly participating in the passing of secrets, the court said.

At the time, Bharara issued a statement saying the ruling "interprets the securities laws in a way that will limit the ability to prosecute people who trade on leaked inside information." His office made the same argument in its petition.


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