Steve Buyer, the former Republican representative for Indiana, was sentenced to 22 months in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $300,000 as well as pay a $10,000 fine for insider trading on Tuesday.
Buyer’s sentencing comes just six months after a federal jury found him guilty of four counts of securities fraud based on insider information of company mergers before they went public.
Prosecutors said Buyer, 64, learned of the telecommunication company, T-Mobile’s, plan to acquire Sprint in March 2018. Before the merger went public, he bought $568,000 in shares of Sprint securities the following day.
Then in June 2019, Buyer learned that Guidehouse LLP would be acquiring Navigant and purchased more than $1m worth of Navigant shares before the acquisition was announced publicly.
In total, Buyer profited $353,000 which he was ordered to return in addition to his jail sentencing.
Defence attorneys for Buyer asked District Judge Richard Berman to consider home confinement and community service as punishment for their client, claiming he had suffered enough.
While Judge Berman rejected sentencing recommendations of 33 to 41 months, he said the seriousness of Mr Buyer’s crimes still warranted jail time, according to the Lafayette Journal and Courier.
Judge Berman opted to give Buyer 22 months, reducing the sentencing due to his public service in the US Army as well as Congress.
Buyer served as a representative of Indiana’s 4th congressional district from 1993 until 2011 when he chose to give up his seat.
While in Congress, he chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
After leaving Congress, Buyer formed a consulting firm, the Steve Buyer Group, which provided services to T-Mobile and Guidehouse LLP among other clients.
Buyer maintained his innocence throughout his trial and during sentencing said he planned to appeal his conviction.
“When insiders like Buyer – an attorney, a former prosecutor, and a retired Congressman – monetize their access to material, nonpublic information, as alleged in this case, they not only violate the federal securities laws, but also undermine public trust and confidence in the fairness of our markets,” Gurbir Grewal, the director of the Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Divison said in an initial press release.
Buyer will report to prison on 28 November.