Ex-Congressman Convicted of Insider Trading Fights Prison

Former Congressman Steve Buyer Convicted of Insider Trading Requests No Prison Time

A former Indiana congressman, Steve Buyer, is appealing for a sentence without jail time after being convicted of insider trading by a Manhattan court in March. Buyer, who served as a congressman from 1993 to 2011, was found guilty of four securities fraud charges related to stock trades he made as a consultant and lobbyist.

The Conviction

Steve Buyer, a 64-year-old former congressman from Noblesville, Indiana, was convicted of insider trading at a court in Manhattan in March. The charges were in connection with the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint and other stock purchases he made at a later time.

Buyer was found guilty of insider trading involving the $26.5 billion merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, announced in April 2018. Additionally, he made stock purchases in the management consulting company Navigant, which were later acquired by his client Guidehouse, in a publicly disclosed deal.

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Potential Prison Sentence

Federal sentencing guidelines recommend a prison sentence of about three years for Buyer’s crimes. However, his lawyers are arguing against jail time, advocating for home confinement and community service instead.

Buyer’s attorneys stated in a submission ahead of his July 11 sentencing that their client has already suffered substantially due to the prosecution and conviction. They argued that the case has irreparably damaged his reputation, tarnished his achievements, and brought ongoing shame and humiliation to him and his family.

Repercussions of the Conviction

The consequences of the conviction have been severe for Steve Buyer. His lawyers outlined several significant challenges he is currently facing:

  • Loss of consulting clients and the collapse of his businesses, resulting in a loss of an average yearly gross income of about $2.2 million from 2018 to 2021.
  • Revocation of his Virginia and Indiana bar licenses, preventing him from consulting and advising Fortune 500 companies or any others with access to insider information.
  • The need to sell most of his assets, including his home, condo, and cars, causing financial strain for his wife who will have to resume work at the age of 65.
  • Closure or freezing of his bank accounts and credit card accounts by multiple financial institutions.
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His lawyers emphasized that these repercussions, coupled with the financial and emotional toll, should be considered when determining his sentence.

Arguments for No Prison Time

Buyer’s lawyers pointed out that it is not uncommon for individuals convicted of insider trading charges with no prior criminal record to receive sentences that do not involve prison time. They cited statistics indicating that over a third of such individuals faced no jail time, and more than 70% received sentences of less than two years.

During the trial, the prosecution argued that Buyer’s clients were motivated to share insider information with him because they sought his consultation services. Conversely, the defense claimed that Buyer was a knowledgeable stock market enthusiast who conducted legal research leading to profitable trades.

Authorities stated that Buyer made over $320,000 in illegal gains for himself, his relatives, and a woman with whom he had an affair.

Conclusion

As the July 11 sentencing approaches, Steve Buyer, a former congressman, is seeking to avoid a prison sentence after being convicted of insider trading. Buyer’s lawyers argued that he has already suffered significant consequences and requested a sentence of home confinement and community service instead. The judge will ultimately determine the appropriate sentence, taking into account the facts, arguments, and guidelines set forth by federal sentencing guidelines.