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U.S. tries a second time to convict MBS trader Jesse Litvak

Appeals court tossed out first conviction

The U.S. is trying a second time to convict former Jefferies managing director Jesse Litvak, with prosecutor telling jurors that Litvak "lied to his customers" about the prices of mortgage-backed securities, according to an article in Bloomberg by Robert Gearty.

In July 2014, Litvak was sentenced to two years in prison for lying to clients about mortgage-backed securities, making him, at the time, the first person to be convicted of fraud in relation to a $20 billion U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

But the case quickly turn a turn the opposite direction when an appeals court tossed out his conviction saying the judge was wrong in not letting expert witnesses testify for the defense, the article explained.

From the article:

Litvak will again argue that he dealt with professionals who conduct their own research and know the value of the bonds they buy and sell.

Traders are watching the case closely to see whether the “everyone does it” defense prevails. Two former Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc employees who admitted guilt to similar charges can withdraw the pleas if Litvak wins. A former Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. trader was indicted in December and three former Nomura Holdings Inc. dealers are set to go on trial in about two months. It remains to be seen whether the Justice Department will keep pursuing such cases after Donald Trump becomes president.

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