It pays to cooperate with the feds once you get slammed with fraud charges.
Nicos Stephanou, the former UBS banker who provided tips on mergers he was working on for the bank, was sentenced today to time already served – 19 months – and no fines.
Stephanou has been cooperating with the government since he was charged.
The judge called Stephanou’s cooperation with the government “exceptional”, according to Dealbook.
Now compare that to Joseph Contorinis, a once-friend of Stephanou’s who had used the tips to go and make himself $7 million. Contorinis, an ex-fund manager at Jefferies, got six years in jail and has to give up $13 million. That sentence was handed down by the same judge that Stephanou faced in his day in court.
The judge explained to Contorinis that “it’s very important to send a message through the sentence imposed on you,” then adding, “You will become a poster child for what happens.”
Contorinis didn’t help the government. Unlike his old pal Stephanou, he maintained his innocence from the very beginning and denied all charges.
So basically, if the tech consultants and expert network employees who have been arrested in the FBI’s massive insider trading probe, want to avoid jail time, and millions of dollars in fines, just say yes to the Feds. Do whatever they want. Because the other path is going to lead to a prison cell.
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