A former Wall Street banker has been jailed for four years after defrauding friends, family and investors of more than $38m (£30.36m). Andrew Caspersen – formerly of PJT Partners, Park Hill Group and Blackstone Group – was arrested in March after "shamelessly" exploiting his victims' trust for more than 18 months.
He appeared in front of US District Judge Jed Rakoff on Friday (4 November) after pleading guilty to securities and wire fraud earlier in the year.
Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the southern district of New York, said: "Using his Wall Street pedigree, Andrew Caspersen deceived and defrauded investors – including his own family and friends and a charity – out of tens of millions of dollars."
Caspersen's deception involved "made-up private equity ventures, fake mail addresses and fictional financiers," Bharara said.
Prosecutors sought 15 years' imprisonment for the Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate, but his defence urged Judge Rakoff to consider his "pathological" gambling addiction as mitigation for the crimes.
Paul Shechtman, defending, said his client was so overtaken by his gambling that he hit a high of over $100m (£79.88m) one day and bet it all the next on, ABC News reported.
"No matter how many times he lost everything, he was convinced he would win it all back," he said.
Caspersen, 40, told the court, "I was willing to do anything to continue, and eventually I did," reported Reuters.
His victims included his mother, brother and close friends who he promised returns of 15 to 20 per cent.
Of the $38.5m he raised, the court heard $8m (£6.39m) was intended to repay money he had misappropriated while at Park Hill. It was reported he tried to raise $150m (£119.82) in total.
Judge Rakoff agreed to hear testimony from an expert in gambling addiction before stating it would be "absurd" for Caspersen to serve a 15-year term.
"No purpose will be served by letting him rot in prison for years on end," Judge Rakoff said, reported Reuters.