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Ex-JPMorgan Chase V.P. guilty on 9 counts of insider trading in father's $1M windfall

Sean Stewart, a former investment vice president at JPMorgan Chase, helped his father and others make more than $1 million in illegal trades from 2011 to 2014.

By Doug G. Ware
Ex-JPMorgan Chase V.P. guilty on 9 counts of insider trading in father's $1M windfall
A federal jury in Manhattan on Wednesday convicted former JPMorgan Chase investment banker Sean Stewart on several counts of conspiracy and fraud, for giving confidential information about several planned health care mergers to his father for investment purposes. Prosecutors said his father and acquaintances made more than $1 million from the unlawful transactions. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A former Wall Street banker was convicted Wednesday on a list of fraud charges for giving privileged insider information to his father, who used it to make a series of illegal high-dollar trades.

Sean Stewart was found guilty by a jury in Manhattan federal court on nine counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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The former investment banker admitted during his trial this week that he indeed gave privileged information to his father about pending corporate mergers, but claimed he didn't know he was trading on it.

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"My dad made some terrible mistakes. Very terrible mistakes," he said under oath. "He used me, and it resulted in the loss of my career and reputation."

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The father, Robert Stewart, however, told others that his son was the driving force behind his financial transactions.

"[Sean] said, 'I can't believe it. I handed you this on a silver platter and you didn't invest in this?" Robert Stewart told a colleague, who was wearing a wire in cooperation with the government's investigation.

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Prosecutors said the father and son duo illegally traded on inside information about five different health care company mergers between 2011 and 2014 when Sean Stewart was vice president of health care investment banking for JPMorgan Chase.

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Sean Stewart, a former vice president of health care investment banking at JPMorgan Chase, was convicted on nine counts of fraud and conspiracy Wednesday for illegally giving insider information to his father so he could make several high-dollar trades. He will be sentenced in February. UPI Photo/John Angelillo

"Time and time again, Sean Stewart took his clients' most sensitive corporate secrets and fed them to his father on a silver platter for quick and illegal profits," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. "Insider trading rigs the securities markets in favor of cheaters, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute this crime aggressively."

In his executive position, Stewart was privy to confidential corporate information unavailable to the public. Using such information for financial gain is illegal.

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Under federal law, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person receiving the information knew it was confidential and that that the provider of the knowledge gave it in exchange for personal benefit.

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Stewart's mother testified in behalf of her son at trial, saying she was never aware of any secret dealings between the two.

"I'm just devastated," Claudia Stewart said after the verdict Wednesday.

Robert Stewart pleaded guilty in a separate case last year to charges he and close friends capitalized on the unlawful information to the tune of more than $1 million. He received four years of probation. He also invoked the Fifth Amendment at his son's trial when defense attorneys called him to testify.

Each of the nine counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison -- meaning Stewart, 35, could technically spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is expected, though, to receive a term of less than 10 years. He will be sentenced in February.

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