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How not to handle yourself during an insider trading sentencing

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has secured more than 80 insider trading convictions since cracking down on the white-collar crime in 2009. Most every sentencing followed the same formula: the guilty party apologizes, reminds everyone of all of their good deeds outside of the office and then throws themself at the mercy of the court. Michael Lucarelli took it another direction.

The former investor relations executive, who last made headlines back in August by running from a courthouse shoeless and in a tank top and sweatpants, was sentenced to nearly three years in prison on Thursday. But that wasn’t the real story. The highlights were his bizarre and unnecessarily honest courtroom antics.

Rather than apologizing to his former employer, a customary action in these sorts of circumstances, Lucarelli lashed out at Lippert, Heilshorn & Associates, which he said stole commissions from him, forcing him down a path that led to insider trading. LHA vehemently denied the claims, according to the New York Daily News.

He then read a baffling five-page statement that forced Manhattan federal Judge Jesse Furman to twice instruct him to stop yelling. He sought sympathy for being divorced, which he blamed on his impotence. “I couldn’t perform my sexual duties, and she’s 20 years younger,” he said in the prewritten statement.

He then admitted to chronic cocaine use due to a dietary restriction on coffee caused by Crohn’s disease. “I didn’t take the drugs to get high, I did it because I can’t drink coffee — that’s a painful trip to the bathroom,” Lucarelli said. His cocaine use was also a contributing factor in his illegal trading, which netted him $955,521.62, he said.

Later, Lucarelli took the court back to a childhood memory: a fistfight that he got into with his father when he was 16, “which I won,” he said. He even bragged about working with super models Iman and Kathy Ireland, according to the New York Post.

“He tried to get so many thoughts out at a time that sometimes they trip over each other,” said Lucarelli’s lawyer, Patrick McGinley. Indeed.

“I have significant doubt about whether the defendant has ‘gotten it,’” Judge Furman said. Indeed.

Lucarelli, who now lives in North Dakota, said he plans on becoming a truck driver after his stint in prison. “If you’re a good driver, which I am, they don’t care about insider trading." Indeed.

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Buzz Around the Office

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Not sure how this is actually possible. A hedge fund manager lost 99.8% of investor money, and with no claims of fraud. He was just having a lousy year, made a series of "aggressive transactions" over the final three weeks of the year to make up for it, and somehow turned $100 million into $200,000 in 12 months. Need to figure out what those "aggressive transactions" were, as I can’t imagine what they could be. Shorting the franc would only be a start.

Quote of the Day: “Sharp market moves, slow economic recovery, the regulatory burden -- all these are restricting banks’ operations. We’ll see more job cuts in the sector until things stabilize.” –Daniel Baker, a London-based analyst at Informa Global Markets and a respondent to Bloomberg’s poll on potential job cuts

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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