Ex-Jefferies trader Litvak guilty on one of 10 fraud counts

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By Andy Thibault

<span class="articleLocation”>A federal jury found former Jefferies Group bond trader Jesse Litvak guilty for a second time for
defrauding customers on bond prices, but acquitted him on nine
of the 10 counts he faced.

The verdict on Friday by jurors in New Haven, Connecticut on
the sixth day of deliberations is a mixed result for prosecutors
trying to crack down on suspicious sales tactics on Wall Street.

It came after another jury had found Litvak guilty on all 10
securities fraud counts as well as other charges in March 2014,
resulting in a two-year prison sentence. That verdict was
overturned on appeal in December 2015.

Dane Butswinkas, a lawyer for Litvak, declined to comment
after Friday’s verdict. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Deirdre
Daly said her office would issue a statement.

Litvak, 42, who was a managing director at Jefferies, had
been accused of generating $2.25 million of illegal profit by
misleading customers including AllianceBernstein and Soros Fund
Management about bond prices from 2009 to 2011.

Prosecutors said Litvak was motivated by greed, and that his “lies” caused customers to overpay for bonds they were buying
and accept lower prices for bonds they were selling.

But defense lawyers countered that Litvak’s customers were
sophisticated investors with a deep well of talent, computer
models and economic forecasts, and would know enough to be
skeptical if prices that Litvak quoted looked wrong.

Litvak had worked in the Stamford, Connecticut, office of
Jefferies, a unit of Leucadia National Corp.

Jury deliberations were spread over two weeks, delayed by
illness and the death of an alternate juror.

Chief Judge Janet Hall, who presided over both of Litvak’s
trials, on Wednesday spurred jurors to reach a verdict after
they appeared deadlocked on two counts.

Six other former traders face similar charges.

Three from Nomura Holdings Inc – Ross Shapiro,
Michael Gramins and Tyler Peters – pleaded not guilty and face a
May 4 trial, while David Demos from Cantor Fitzgerald & Co
pleaded not guilty on Dec. 9.

The remaining traders, Matthew Katke and Adam Siegel from
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, pleaded guilty in
2015, but under some circumstances could withdraw their pleas if
Litvak were acquitted.

Lawyers for Katke and Siegel did not immediately respond to
requests for comment. (Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel)

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