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Stamford Trader Gets Two Years In Prison For Defrauding Customers Of $6M

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STAMFORD, Conn. – A man who worked on a trading floor in Stamford for Jeffries & Co. Inc., has been sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding customers for three years by lying about trading in residential mortgage-backed securities, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney in Connecticut.

Jesse C. Litvak, 39, of New York, N.Y.,  was a registered broker-dealer and former managing director at New York investment bank Jefferies & Co.

Litvak was also sentenced Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to three years of supervised release after his prison term and ordered to pay a fine of $1.75 million.

According to court documents, Litvak lied more than 70 times to customers over nearly three years to steal their money.

“While Litvak was being paid millions as a trader and managing director, he defrauded dozens of victims, resulting in over $6 million in loss to investors,” said Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.

"The victim investors included pension funds for teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other state or municipal employees, as well as taxpayer-provided bailout funds that helped our nation to recover from the 2008 financial meltdown. This sentence serves as a warning bell to those who risk engaging in such corrupt practices."

Litvak was arrested on Jan. 28, 2013, and released on bond. He was found guilty on March 7 of 10 counts of securities fraud, one count of TARP fraud and four counts of making false statements to the federal government. Litvak must report to prison by Nov. 5.

“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that lying in the already opaque markets of mortgage-backed securities to drive up prices for the sake of profits is a crime that will result in years in federal prison,” said Christy Romero, special inspector general for TARP (SIGTARP).

“When caught by a customer trading with taxpayer bailout dollars, senior bond trader Litvak said it was a ‘hard year’ and ‘guys were doing what they needed to make money.’ The fact is that it was a hard year for everyone in that market. The government used taxpayer dollars in a TARP bailout program to help restart a frozen mortgage backed securities market, but Litvak saw it as a criminal opportunity.

"Litvak bragged in online chats about lying to customers and driving up prices, conduct that ultimately resulted in $6.3 million in fraudulent profits for his firm, Jefferies.  Litvak knew full-well that some of those customers were funds filled with taxpayer dollars, and he has zero remorse for ripping off those customers and jeopardizing the integrity of the bailout program, all for the sake of pure greed."

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