- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - An investment banker convicted of insider trading charges alleging he fed tips to his father was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison by a judge who said he betrayed the companies that employed him and his clients.

Sean Stewart, 35, chose “personal convenience, personal appearance and family benefits” over requirements that he protect secrets he learned as an executive in mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Perella Weinberg Partners LP, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said. His “sense of entitlement” seemed to continue after his August conviction by a jury because he still appears to live beyond his means, she said.

Besides the prison term, the judge ordered Stewart, who lives in Manhattan, to spend a year in home detention following the prison sentence and to do 200 hours of community service.

Stewart, who was educated at Yale University, was convicted by a jury that concluded he shared secrets about pending deals with his father at least five times over a four-year period.

He maintained his innocence at his sentencing, though he acknowledged making “serious mistakes.”

“In my heart and in my mind, though, I know that I did not commit a crime,” he said.

“My actions have left me changed, humiliated and forever changed,” he said in a statement that left him choked up at times. “I regret my actions and will continue to do so the rest of my life.”

The judge refused Stewart’s request to serve no more than a year in prison but sentenced him to less than the five years recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the conviction and sentence “a victory for all who believe in a fair securities market.”

Stewart’s father, Robert Stewart, pleaded guilty to an insider trading charge and was sentenced to one year of home detention.

The father received about $150,000 while a stock broker he worked through got the rest of $1.1 million in profits. Prosecutors say the son benefited when his father used some of proceeds to pay for his wedding rehearsal dinner and for a wedding photographer.

The effort to show Sean Stewart received something in return for sharing secrets was important after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2014 changed the landscape of insider trading law by saying prosecutors needed to show that the person supplying secrets received something of value in return. Stewart’s trial was the first to occur in Manhattan since that ruling.

Stewart’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the conviction and sentencing.

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