Father of Perella Weinberg's Sean Stewart Gets Probation

  • Robert Stewart pleaded guilty to insider trading conspiracy
  • Sean Stewart faces July trial in alleged $1 million scheme

The father of former Perella Weinberg Partners LP investment banker Sean Stewart avoided prison for his role in an insider-trading conspiracy that netted more than $1 million in profits.

Robert Stewart, 61, was sentenced Wednesday to four years’ probation, including one year of home detention and 750 hours of community service. Under a plea agreement with the government, he’ll forfeit the $150,000 he made from the scheme.

Prosecutors, with the support of U.S. probation officials, had asked for a prison sentence of at least 2 1/2 years. U.S. District Judge Laura Swain in Manhattan, explaining her rejection of a prison term, cited Stewart’s role as primary caregiver for his wife, who has an “unusually serious” health condition that wasn’t discussed publicly.

Stewart pleaded guilty in August to insider-trading conspiracy, just three months after both Stewarts were charged.

“I’m humiliated,” Stewart, a gray-haired accountant dressed in a business suit, told Swain. “I’m embarrassed, but I have no one to blame but myself.”

Prosecutors claimed the younger Stewart gave his father tips about five acquisitions announced from 2011 to 2014. Sean Stewart denied wrongdoing. Robert Stewart hasn’t agreed with prosecutors to testify at his son’s trial, which set for July 25.

A third man, Richard Cunniffe, pleaded guilty to helping Robert Stewart disguise the scheme by allowing illegal trades to be made in his account and making most of the profits from the trading. Prosecutors said Robert Stewart and Cunniffe used golf terms to disguise the subject of their communications.

Secret Recordings

Cunniffe cooperated with the government and made secret recordings to implicate the Stewarts. In one recorded meeting, the elder Stewart said his son once chastised him for failing to trade on a tip, quoting him as saying, “I can’t believe I handed you this on a silver platter and you didn’t invest in it,” prosecutors said.

“In the year of mercy, the judge was very compassionate,” said Thomas Gallagher, a Roman Catholic priest who was among Stewart’s supporters in the courtroom, referring to the year-long Jubilee of Mercy declared by Pope Francis.

The case is U.S. v. Cunniffe, 15-cr-00287, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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