NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) - A former Lehman Brothers broker who stole corporate secrets from his executive
wife and shared them with friends avoided a prison term on
Friday, with the judge describing his crime as a "tragic and
senseless" act for a gain of just $23,000.
Matthew Devlin, 38, pleaded guilty more than three years ago
to insider trading and cooperated with authorities - sometimes
wearing a recording device - to help convict four people and
obtain civil judgments against two others.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley in New York sentenced
Devlin to three years' probation when he could have been
imprisoned for almost four years.
"He betrayed the trust of everyone ... All of it completely
tragic and senseless for a sum of money that to his benefit was
a rounding error in his compensation," Pauley said.
The case was not linked to the high-profile U.S.
investigation of insider trading at the Galleon Group hedge
fund, but it is one of dozens of insider trading prosecutions in
New York in recent years.
Devlin's case was made public in December 2008 with tawdry
details about his betrayal of his wife, public relations
executive Nina Devlin. By listening to her conversations and
assessing the implications of her travel schedule, he illegally
obtained corporate secrets without her knowledge.
Devlin received $23,000 in cash and gifts from friends for
sharing stock tips with them, according to court documents. The
deals included Novartis AG's acquisition of Eon Labs in 2005,
Electronic Arts Inc's hostile bid in 2008 for Take-Two
Interactive Software Inc and InBev's acquisition of
Nina Devlin was an executive at Brunswick Group who worked
with clients on mergers and acquisitions. She was not accused of
any wrongdoing and is no longer working at the firm.
Devlin worked for Lehman for eight years, continued with
Barclays after Lehman's September 2008 collapse and he is now
the primary care provider for the couple's three year-old son.
Lehman emerged from bankruptcy 2-1/2 weeks ago, but Devlin's
career in the financial industry was destroyed by his offenses.
Four of his friends made millions trading on the inside
information, the office of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney said.
Prosecutor Reed Brodsky asked the judge to show leniency toward
Devlin because he helped convict the four men.
Devlin's lawyer, Mary Mulligan, asked the judge to sentence
him to one year's probation.
Devlin, in tears, told the judge at the sentencing
proceeding that his conduct was "reckless, selfish and
inexcusable" and that he had spent the last 3-1/2 years trying
to repair the damage.
The four who pleaded guilty based on evidence provided by
Devlin were Miami day traders Jamil Bouchareb and Daniel Corbin,
former Lehman broker Frederick Bowers and Eric Holzer, a former
tax lawyer at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in New York.
The case is USA v Devlin, U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York, No. 08-01307.
For USA: Joan Loughnane of the U.S. Attorney's Office.
For Devlin: Not immediately available.
(Reporting by Grant McCool)
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