Father of ex-investment banker avoids prison for insider trading
By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – The father of a former investment banker at Perella Weinberg Partners and JPMorgan Chase & Co was sentenced on Wednesday to a year of home confinement and three more years of probation, for trading securities ahead of healthcare mergers based on tips from his son.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan sentenced Robert Stewart, 61, at a court hearing. She also ordered Stewart to forfeit the $150,000 he gained from the trading and to do 750 hours of community service.
Before being sentenced, Stewart said he was “humiliated” and accepted responsibility for his actions.
Swain said she would have sentenced Stewart to prison if not for the “unusually serious” medical condition of his wife, Claudia Stewart, who required his care. The details of her condition were not discussed.
“Mr. Stewart is grateful for the opportunity to move forward with his life in a positive way,” Stewart’s lawyer, Seth Levine, told reporters outside the courtroom.
Stewart was arrested on insider trading charges last May and pleaded guilty in August.[L1N10N37E] The plea deal did not call for him to cooperate in the case against his son, Sean Stewart, 35, who is also charged with insider trading.
Sean Stewart has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said Robert Stewart, an accountant, traded on tips from Sean about mergers being worked on at Perella Weinberg and JPMorgan Chase, where Sean worked until 2011.
At JPMorgan, the mergers included INC Research Holdings Inc’s 2011 acquisition of Kendle International Inc and Apax Partners’ buyout that year of Kinetic Concepts Inc.
At Perella Weinberg, the deals included Hologic Inc’s 2012 acquisition of Gen-Probe Inc, Linde AG’s purchase of Lincare Holdings Inc that year, and Becton, Dickinson & Co’s deal for CareFusion Corp in October.
Prosecutors said that, after a regulator began inquiring about Kinetic Concepts trading, Robert Stewart arranged to have a business associate, Richard Cunniffe, make trades for a cut of what became $1.16 million in profits.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooke Cucinella, a lead prosecutor in the case, said at Wednesday’s hearing that Cunniffe kept most of that money himself.
Cunniffe, an investment banker at Chatsworth Securities LLC, secretly pleaded guilty in March 2015 and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
The case is U.S. v. Cunniffe, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-cr-287.
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Additional Reporting By Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and David Gregorio)