Wall Street scion Caspersen gets 4 years in prison for $38.5 million fraud

Fri Nov 4, 2016 5:58pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Wall Street executive Andrew Caspersen was sentenced on Friday to four years in prison for engaging in what prosecutors say was a Ponzi-like scheme to defraud investors including family members and friends out of $38.5 million.

Caspersen, who worked at a unit of investment banker Paul Taubman's PJT Partners Inc before his arrest in March, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan after pleading guilty to charges including securities fraud.

Prosecutors sought up to 15-2/3 years in prison for the Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate, who they said for 18 months shamelessly exploited his victims' trust.

But Paul Shechtman, his lawyer, urged Rakoff to consider as a mitigating factor Caspersen's "pathological" gambling addiction that led him to obtain millions of dollars to engage in risky options trading.

"I was willing to do anything to continue, and eventually I did," Caspersen, 40, said in court.

After hearing from testimony from an expert in gambling addition, Rakoff agreed Caspersen's condition impacted his decision making. He called the lengthy prison term prosecutors pushed "absurd."

"No purpose will be served by letting him rot in prison for years on end," said Rakoff, who is expected to order restitution at a later date.

Caspersen, the son of late Wall Street financier Finn M.W. Caspersen, had worked at Park Hill Group since 2013. The advisory firm was spun off from private equity group Blackstone Group LP last year and is now part of PJT Partners.   Continued...

Andrew Caspersen and his wife Christina Caspersen depart following his sentencing at the U.S. Federal Court in New York City, U.S., November 4, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid