Ex-Congressman sentenced to two years in jail for insider trading: ‘He abused positions of trust’

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Ex-Congressman Stephen Buyer was sentenced to 22 months in prison on Tuesday for trading on inside information he gained as a consultant to private companies including T-Mobile.

Last year, he was indicted for allegedly using inside information to buy $1.5 million in stocks. He was convicted in March of four counts of securities fraud for engaging in two insider trading schemes.

As well as being handed an almost two-year sentence, the 64-year-old Buyer was ordered to pay more than $350,000 in forfeiture, with the judge ruling he would also have to pay restitution of an amount to be determined.

Buyer served as a Republican lawmaker representing an Indiana district in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2011, and acted as one of the 13 House managers in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. 

After leaving Congress, Buyer worked as a consultant to private firms. One of those companies was telecoms giant T-Mobile. As a consultant to the firm, Buyer became privy to information about T-Mobile’s multibillion-dollar merger with Sprint Corporation before the deal was publicly announced.

Around March and April 2018, Buyer purchased shares of Sprint. At the end of April—shortly after Buyer’s purchase—it was announced that T-Mobile had agreed to acquire Sprint in a deal valued at $26.5 billion. The announcement sent shares of both companies skyrocketing.

Evidence, statements and court documents collected in the run-up to and during Buyer’s trial revealed that ahead of the public announcement, executives at T-Mobile told a small, trusted group of consultants—including Buyer—about the merger, instructing them to keep the information confidential.

Buyer made more than $126,000 from buying and selling Sprint stock based on his inside information, officials said.

A year later, Buyer engaged in another insider trading scheme involving shares of Navigant Consulting ahead of its acquisition by advisory firm Guidehouse.

Buyer was a consultant to Guidehouse, and learned through his proximity to the company about its intention to buy Navigant.

He bought shares in Navigant before the companies officially announced the deal, and sold them at a profit following the public announcement.

In total, Buyer made more than $223,000 from his illegal Navigant trades, according to prosecutors.

During Buyer’s March trial, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman deemed the former lawmaker’s testimony to include false explanations for his trading of Sprint and Navigant shares, which the judge said in Tuesday’s sentencing constituted an obstruction of justice.

As he handed down Buyer’s sentence in a New York court on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said the former Congressman had “abused positions of trust for illicit personal gain.”

“No insider trader is above the law, and we will continue to bring those who undermine the fairness and integrity of our markets to justice,” he said.

Representatives for Buyer were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fortune.

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