A former Republican lawmaker from Indiana who served for nearly two decades in Congress has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison after being convicted of insider trading.
Former Rep. Stephen Buyer was sentenced to 22 months in prison Tuesday after a jury previously found him guilty on four counts of securities fraud related to insider trading schemes in 2018 and 2019. According to the Department of Justice, Buyer had purchased stock in companies after learning they would soon be acquired, earning him nearly $350,000 in the process.
The first case came in March and April 2018, when Buyer purchased shares of Sprint ahead of a public announcement that the company would merge with T-Mobile in a deal valued at $26.5 billion, the indictment states. Buyer allegedly made more than $126,000 from the purchase and subsequent sale of Sprint stock.
Then from about June through August 2019, Buyer again engaged in insider trading after learning through his consulting work at Guidehouse that the company intended to Acquire Navigant Consulting, Inc. Buyer purchased Navigant shares across several brokerage accounts and made more than $223,000 from the illegal trades.
Buyer's sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard M Berman for the Southern District of New York, who found that Buyer also provided false statements during the trial that constituted obstruction of justice. However, Berman's decision was less than the 36-month sentence requested by prosecutors. He was also ordered to pay more than $350,000 in fines and restitution.
"Stephen Buyer was convicted by a jury of twice engaging in insider trading," said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. "He abused positions of trust for illicit personal gain, and today he faced justice for those acts. No insider trader is above the law and we will continue to bring those who undermine the fairness and integrity of our markets to justice."
Buyer, 64, was a nine-term congressman who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 until his departure in 2011 to work as a private consultant. He's also a lawyer and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War.
There's been an ongoing debate over whether members of Congress should even be allowed to freely trade stocks, with the central concern being that it's a conflict of interest allowing for financial influences over legislation. According to a 2021 investigation by Insider, 54 members of Congress and about 180 high-level staffers had violated federal stock-trading rules, with Alabama Rep. Tommy Tuberville having 132 violations alone.
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