IBM ex-SVP gets six months in the clink for fraud

Robert Moffat, former senior vice-president at IBM, is to face sentencing soon for his involvement in the biggest insider trading case in history, which prosecutors say he thought he would get away with.

Moffat, who was at one point tipped to take on the job of CEO at IBM, admitted to fraud and providing accused hedge fund trader Danielle Chisei with insider information. Assistant US Attorney Reed Brodsky remarked that the two had an “intimate relationship”, but Moffat said his crimes were motivated by money, not sex, as if that makes it any better.

Prosecuters said that Moffat had “a misguided belief he could never be caught” and thus warranted at least a six month stint in prison, but his defence lawyers have called for him to be released on probation. The fact that probation is even being considered raises questions on justice, as fraud committed by a pleb and not a money’d ‘sleb would be face a harder rap.

Moffat attempted to defend his affair with Chisei by saying: “Danielle had an extensive network of business people. And she added clarity about what was going on in the business world. … I know in my heart what this relationship was about: clarity in the business environment.” He’s obviously been to spin school – clarity’s a new one to us.

Moffat’s involvement with the elaborate hedge fund fraud was discovered after a federal wiretap revealed Moffat giving confidential information to Chisei, who worked at New Castle Funds, which aided in a number of illegal trades. 

New Castle Funds co-founder, Mark Kurland, received a 27 month prison sentence for his involvement, while several other employees, including Chisei, are facing charges. Kurland’s sentence dwarfs the relatively small six months called for Moffat.

Kurland’s lawyers are suggesting Moffat’s role was larger than Kurland’s and want a reduced sentence to match. That call could lead to longer in the nick for Moffat if the courts agree.

Update Moffat has been given six months in prison and a $50,000 fine.