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A former bond trader for Jefferies, Jesse Litvak, was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison for securities fraud — the same amount of prison time he received at his first sentencing in 2014 before his original conviction was scrapped on appeal.
Mr Litvak was also hit with a $2m fine, according to the US attorney’s office in Connecticut, an increase over the $1.75m he was originally sentenced to pay.
The ex-trader was the first individual charged in connection with the Troubled Asset Relief Programme, set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis to spur investors to buy “toxic” assets to help troubled banks. US prosecutors accused him of lying about mortgage-bond prices to defraud investors.
He was initially convicted, but the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals scrapped that verdict after finding there was not enough evidence to support the conviction on some claims, among other issues. A new trial was ordered on some of the charges.
The closely watched appeals-court decision was seen as a setback for the government’s efforts to target allegedly deceptive sales practices in the market for asset-backed debt like mortgage bonds.
After a second trial, which started in January, Litvak was convicted on a single count of securities fraud, in connection with trading residential mortgage-backed securities fraud. He was found not guilty on nine other securities-fraud counts.
Lawyers for Litvak did not return a request for comment on Wednesday.
The US attorney for Connecticut, Deirdre Daly, in a statement called the prosecution “demanding and lengthy”, adding:
“Jesse Litvak took advantage of his victims through his repeated and brazen lies, and as the court correctly found, Litvak’s lies led to more than $6 million in unearned profits for his employer. Simply put, Litvak lied to investors to cheat them and make more money for himself.”
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