Ex-JPMor­gan ad­viser gets five years for em­bez­zling $20m

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

A for­mer JPMor­gan Chase & Co in­vest­ment ad­viser was sen­tenced to five years in prison on Tues­day af­ter ad­mit­ting that he stole at least $20 mil­lion from client ac­counts to fund a gam­bling ad­dic­tion and to trade in stock op­tions.

Michael Op­pen­heim, 49, was also or­dered by U.S. District Judge Anal­isa Tor­res to for­feit al­most $20.2 mil­lion and pay resti­tu­tion to JPMor­gan af­ter plead­ing guilty in Novem­ber to charges of em­bez­zle­ment and se­cu­ri­ties fraud.

Ac­cord­ing to U.S. pros­e­cu­tors and se­cu­ri­ties reg­u­la­tors, Op­pen­heim worked with about 500 wealthy clients as a vice pres­i­dent and pri­vate client ad­viser in JPMor­gan's mid­town Man­hat­tan of­fices.

Pros­e­cu­tors said that from 2008 to 2015, Op­pen­heim per­suaded clients to let him with­draw some of their money, in some cases mil­lions of dol­lars, falsely claim­ing he would in­vest it in low-risk mu­nic­i­pal bonds. In other cases, Op­pen­heim, who lived in Liv­ingston, New Jersey, sim­ply took their money with­out per­mis­sion, pros­e­cu­tors said. In court pa­pers, Op­pen­heim's lawyer, Paul Shecht­man, had urged Tor­res to be le­nient in sen­tenc­ing, say­ing his crime, while se­ri­ous, was fu­eled by a "patho­log­i­cal gam­bling ad­dic­tion that has haunted him for much of his adult life."

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