Ex-investment banker sentenced to 2 years in prison

NEW YORK (AP) — A former investment banker sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday for insider trading says fledging companies looking for advice still trust him with their secrets.

Sean Stewart made the comment before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff announced the sentence in Manhattan.

The Yale-educated Stewart had already served over a year of a three-year prison term before his first conviction was overturned on appeal.

A retrial resulted in conviction again on charges including securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Prosecutors said over $1 million was earned illegally by Stewart’s father and a broker after the son gave his father secrets about five pending mergers involving public health companies from 2011 through 2014. At the time, Stewart was an executive in mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners LP.

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."

On Tuesday, prosecutors argued for restoration of the three-year term, but Rakoff said Stewart deserved additional leniency, in part because he’ll have to return to prison after being freed and because of the effect Stewart’s incarceration was likely to have on his young son.

Given a chance to address the judge directly, Stewart said his son has flourished since his release after his incarceration had “crushed his world.”

Stewart said he has done consulting work with emerging companies that trust he won’t give away their secrets.

“I stand before you ashamed, humiliated, embarrassed, but also changed,” Stewart said. “I am sorrier than you’ll ever know.”

Stewart, 38, of North Merrick, said he spoke to Yale students Monday as part of an effort to warn youngsters not to follow in his footsteps.

He said that as a convicted felon he didn’t have much to offer except to serve as a warning.