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Former Nuveen trader asks for judge for leniency in insider trading sentence

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Securities and Compliance

A former Nuveen trader who was involved in an insider trading scheme is asking a federal judge for leniency in his sentence next week, according to AdvisorHub.

53-year-old Lawrence Billimek pleaded guilty in November to passing tips about planned Nuveen stock purchases over a six-year period to retiree Alan Williams, who would then acquire the shares ahead of the firm. The scheme generated over $57 million in illegal profits. Williams pleaded guilty before Billimek and is scheduled to be sentenced this fall.

Billimek”s lawyers filed a recommendation with U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in which they asked him to impose the most lenient sentence.  Under federal guidelines, he will face up to seven years in prison when he is sentenced May 20.  The lawyers asserted that the damage to Billimek’s career and reputation was punishment enough.  He was fired from Nuveen following his arrest in December 2022.

According to a Yahoo Finance report, federal prosecutors countered in a court filing Monday by urging Judge Gardephe to sentence Billimek to 70 months in prison, saying that such a term was necessary to deter others from committing similar crimes.

In arguing for a more lenient sentence, Billimek’s lawyer Marc Mukasey noted the fact that the case was developed through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Consolidated Audit Trail database which uncovers insider trading.

“The news about this case and this new powerful tool being deployed by the SEC in itself provides an extra level of general deterrence,” Mukasey wrote.  Nuveen’s parent company, TIAA-CREF, is asking Gardephe to order Billimek to pay it $38.4 million in restitution.

Prosecutors making the case for a stiff sentence said Billimek “abused his employer’s trust to carry out a multiyear insider-trading scheme that reaped tens of millions of dollars of profit that funded his lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of multiple homes.”

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