Ex-Leerink Banker Gets 16-Month Term for Insider Trading

Jauyo Lee, a former Leerink Swann LLC investment banker, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for providing inside information about pending mergers involving clients to a childhood friend who made $600,000 after trading on the tips.

Lee, 29, wasn’t ordered to pay a fine by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco, who also sentenced his friend Victor Chen to 16 months in prison. Chen forfeited the profit.

Lee, who worked in the San Francisco office of Leerink Swann, gave nonpublic information to Chen about the 2009 merger of Syneron Medical Ltd. and Candela Corp., and the 2010 combination of Somanetics Corp. and a Covidien Plc unit, prosecutors said. He gave Chen $29,000 to invest in the trades, prosecutors said. The two men pleaded guilty in April.

Lee asked for no jail time, saying his reputation has been destroyed forever and he’d “lost everything.”

“I have been given a life sentence from the financial industry,” he told Seeborg. “Some people think that insider trading is a victimless crime. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The victims are his family and friends, he said.

Robert Gage, Lee’s attorney, asked Seeborg for leniency, saying his client, who came to the U.S. from Taiwan with his parents at age 14 knowing no English, was accepted at Columbia University’s biotech program and wished to pursue his studies so he could give back to society.

Gage declined to comment after the sentencing.

The government had sought a sentence of as much as 37 months in prison.

The case is U.S. v Lee, 3:13-cr-00180, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco) .

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