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Prison Sentence Likely for Quattrone

September 08, 2004|From Associated Press

Frank Quattrone, the Silicon Valley deal maker during the 1990s technology stock boom, faces a likely prison sentence today, four months after he was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation.

The 48-year-old former investment banker would be the highest-profile Wall Street figure to face time behind bars since junk-bond king Michael Milken in 1990.

Quattrone, who headed the technology group at Credit Suisse First Boston, was convicted in May of obstructing a probe into how shares of hot initial public offerings of stock were allocated during the tech boom.

The case hinged on an e-mail that Quattrone forwarded to bankers in 2000, encouraging them to "clean up" their files. Quattrone contended he was simply following CSFB policy and did not know the scope of the government investigation.

Quattrone, convicted of two counts of obstruction and a single count of witness tampering, faces 10 to 16 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Martha Stewart, convicted of lying about a stock trade, faced the same sentencing range and in July received a term of five months in prison and five months of house arrest.

Quattrone's sentence will be imposed by Judge Richard Owen of federal court in Manhattan, who presided over Quattrone's two trials. The first ended in a hung jury last fall. Quattrone testified in his own defense at both trials.

Owen could sentence Quattrone to more than the 10-to-16-month range, legal experts said, finding that Quattrone lied on the witness stand. But, they added, Owen may feel constrained by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that questions the sentencing discretion of judges.

A Quattrone spokesman declined to comment Tuesday, as did federal prosecutors.

The defense already has claimed that Owen has a pro-government bias. Lawyers for Quattrone plan to take their case to a federal appeals court, arguing that Owen inconsistently applied rules about what evidence could be introduced.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which generally tries to locate prisoners near their homes, would make the decision on where Quattrone would serve time. The former banker, who has a wife and daughter, lives near San Francisco.

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