Sean Stewart Father-Son Insider Trading Case Goes to Jury

  • Former Perella Weinberg investment banker faces prison
  • U.S. claims Stewart tipped his dad to healthcare mergers

Sean Stewart’s fate now lies in the hands of a New York jury, which began deliberating insider-trading claims against the former Perella Weinberg Partners LP investment banker charged with passing illegal tips to his accountant father.

Jurors got the case Tuesday at the end of a trial that began July 27. Prosecutors argued that Stewart, 35, tipped his father to five healthcare industry mergers from 2011 to 2014. They say Sean Stewart learned about the mergers from his work at Perella Weinberg and his previous job at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Stewart, who testified in his own defense, said his father "betrayed" him by trading on company news he picked up from his son in their conversations about his job. Sean Stewart told jurors he never intended for his father, Bob Stewart, to trade on the information, he told jurors.

Among the prosecution witnesses were two men who traded on tips passed to them by Bob Stewart. One of the witnesses, Bob’s former friend Richard Cunniffe, cooperated with the authorities and recorded meetings and a phone call with Bob. Jurors heard a recording from a March 24, 2015, meeting between Cunniffe and Bob Stewart at a midtown Manhattan coffee shop, in which Bob allegedly said Sean had once scolded him for failing to trade on a tip.

“I handed you this on a silver platter, and you didn’t invest in this,” Bob told Cunniffe, quoting his son, according to prosecutors.

Cunniffe and Bob Stewart have both pleaded guilty in the case. Bob Stewart was sentenced to probation. Cunniffe, who hasn’t been sentenced, is hoping to avoid prison as a result of his cooperation. Sean Stewart faces as many as 20 years in prison on the most serious charges against him.

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

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