Marek Leszczynski, a former employee of LinkBrokers Derivatives Corp., a unit of London-based ICAP Plc, pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme that involved lying to clients about the prices of securities bought and sold for their accounts.
Leszczynski, arrested in October with Benjamin Chouchane, a former broker for LinkBrokers, pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy count today before U.S. District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan. Prosecutors claimed misrepresentations by Chouchane, Leszczynski and others garnered illegal profit for their employer and bonuses for themselves.
Leszczynski, 44, identified by prosecutors as a broker, was indicted in December on two counts of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud and a count of securities fraud. Chouchane pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy. A third man, Henry Condron, pleaded guilty in October to being part of the scheme.
Prosecutors claimed that, from 2005 to December 2008, the men secretly marked up the prices of securities purchased for institutional clients and marked down the prices of securities that were sold, resulting in millions of dollars in fraudulent profits. The employees all received inflated bonuses based on the phony profits, according to the government.
Keenan scheduled sentencing for Leszczynski, who faces as much as five years in prison, for Dec. 19. Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that under the U.S. sentencing guidelines the judge should consider a term of 46 to 57 months. Leszczynski, a citizen of the U.K. who lives in Coral Gables, Florida, will probably be deported after he serves his sentence, Keenan said.
Leszczynski agreed to forfeit $1.5 million. He may also be fined as much as $250,000 or two times the gain or loss from the scheme, whichever is highest.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a lawsuit filed in October that the three men and a fourth former LinkBrokers employee, Gregory Reyftmann, illegally took $18.7 million from customers by reporting fake execution prices on more than 36,000 transactions over four years.
The criminal cases is U.S. v. Leszczynski, 12-cr-00923, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The SEC case is SEC v. Leszczynski, 12-cv-7488, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).