Billionaire Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud Charges

Billionaire Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud Charges

( – Insider trading is an illegal practice where one takes advantage of confidential information to trade on the stock exchange. Actions can include purchasing stocks at a lower price when they’re about to increase or selling those that are about to drop significantly in value before they do. Authorities who catch insider traders often charge them with securities and commodities fraud, a white-collar felony crime, as well as wire fraud or conspiracy. One British billionaire recently pleaded guilty to insider trading and is now facing some serious penalties.

Prosecutors indicted Joe Lewis, 86, whose family owns Tottenham Hotspur, an English soccer club, on 19 counts last July. The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York alleged that the billionaire shared confidential information with friends, lovers, and employees, including pilots, “as a way to compensate his employees or shower gifts on” those close to him. Authorities charged him with 16 counts of securities fraud — 13 of which fall under Title 15 and three under Title 18 — and three counts of conspiracy. He could have faced a total of 350 years in prison if found guilty.

Yet, on Wednesday, January 25, Lewis pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy to commit securities fraud count and two securities fraud charges, much less than he was originally facing. Instead of 350 years, Lewis could see penalties of up to 45 years, though a judge will determine his final sentence.

During his hearing, Lewis addressed US District Judge Jessica Clarke and acknowledged his actions were wrong. He said he was “so embarrassed” and apologized to the court. Clarke has said she may consider the other charges levied against him when issuing his sentence.

One of Lewis’ companies, Broad Bay Ltd, used to shelter his true identity as the owner of Mirati Therapeutics shares, also pleaded guilty. It will pay a $50 million fine.

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