Sokolow Gets Year in Jail in Levine Case
Following an emotional plea for leniency, former investment banker Ira B. Sokolow was sentenced Thursday to one year and a day in jail for passing stolen information to Dennis B. Levine, the central figure in the largest insider trading case ever prosecuted.
Sokolow, who pleaded guilty on Sept. 4 to criminal securities fraud and tax evasion charges, also was sentenced to three years probation. He is the first defendant in the illicit trading scheme to be sentenced.
Two other former investment bankers--including Levine himself--and a former partner in a leading mergers and acquisitions law firm also have pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges and are awaiting sentencing.
Both the 32-year-old former vice president of the Shearson Lehman Bros. brokerage and his wife were in tears as he told U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan and a packed Manhattan courtroom that he is “sorry” for having tipped Levine to proposed corporate mergers before they became public knowledge. His lawyer, Peter Fleming, also reminded the judge that Sokolow already has lost his job, is “in disgrace” and has agreed to pay the government $210,000--about twice his profits from the scheme.
Even Charles M. Carberry, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, asked the court to weigh the fact that Sokolow came forward voluntarily and agreed to cooperate with the government shortly after Levine’s arrest earlier this year.
“I know I received fair and conscientious consideration from a fair and conscientious judge,” Sokolow told his lawyer after the sentencing. “That means a great deal to me personally.”
Sokolow could have received as much as 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines on the two criminal counts. He is to begin serving his sentence Dec. 5 and will be eligible for parole four months later.