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Broker Sentenced in Test-Taking Scam

May 13, 1997|From Reuters

NEW YORK — A stockbroker accused of taking tests for other brokers in the biggest licensing scam in Wall Street history was sentenced Monday to two to six years in prison.

Robert Idzi, of Pleasantville, N.Y., was charged in a 108-count indictment with taking 20 separate tests for 15 brokers in Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York and faced up to 20 years in prison.

But in a deal worked out with prosecutors in March, Idzi pleaded guilty to one count of forgery.

"I have made a lot of serious mistakes, but I have tried to make an effort to rectify those mistakes. All I ask for is mercy from the court," Idzi told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Edward McLaughlin.

The judge also fined Idzi $20,000.

Prosecutors said another accused phony test-taker, Igor Shekhtman, of Encino, who also pleaded guilty, will be sentenced later this month to two to six years.

Evidence uncovered during the nearly three-year investigation revealed that more than 50 brokers paid Idzi and Shekhtman up to $5,000 to take the six-hour licensing examination for them.

The brokers also promised the two impostors future shares of their commissions, prosecutors said.

The investigation began in 1994 when an examination proctor noticed the same person taking multiple tests under a number of different names.

All 53 brokers charged in the case struck plea bargain deals with the Manhattan district attorney. They have been fined from $5,000 to $20,000, and some were also given probation and jail time of up to four months.

Brokers must pass a series of licensing examinations administered by the National Assn. of Securities Dealers at 56 centers nationwide before they can sell securities to investors.

All of the defendants have been barred for life from the NASD and prohibited from trading in New York state.

Most of those indicted worked at 17 small and medium-sized brokerage firms, including Stratton Oakmont, Hanover Sterling & Co. and Gruntal & Co.

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