Banker who tipped off dad convicted anew of insider trading

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NEW YORK (AP) — An investment banker whose insider trading conviction was overturned by an appeals court was convicted again at a second trial Monday by a jury that reached a speedy verdict.

The Yale-educated Sean Stewart, 38, of North Merrick, was convicted of charges including securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud by a Manhattan federal court jury that deliberated little more than an hour over two days.

The swift judgment came despite the exclusion of some evidence that was introduced in Stewart’s 2016 trial.

The new trial was ordered last year by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which cited trial flaws.

Prosecutors said more than $1 million was earned by people including Stewart’s father after the son shared secrets about five pending mergers involving public health care companies from 2011 through 2014.

Stewart’s father, Robert, was sentenced to a year of home detention after he pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said the father received $150,000 of the illegal profits while his broker pocketed the rest.

When the crimes occurred, Stewart was an executive in mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners LP.

“He abused his positions over and over again to tip his father,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, who watched the verdict as it was delivered, said in a release afterward.

At his 2015 trial, Sean Stewart testified that he sometimes discussed work, including pending acquisitions that were supposed to be secret, when he was with his parents but never thought the disclosures would result in illegal trades.

“I am innocent,” he said. “I never, ever gave my father information expecting him to trade.”

He did not testify at this year’s trial, when prosecutors alleged that he gave his father insider stock tips rather than cash when he realized he was having financial problems.

He served a year of a three-year prison sentence before being released last year as his appeal seemed headed toward success.

Stewart is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29 by Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

Steven Witzel, a defense lawyer, told Rakoff he plans to ask him to reject the jury verdict and acquit his client.

Outside court, Witzel said of the jury verdict that he was “very disappointed for Sean.”

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