The jury deliberating the fate of Theodore Sihpol, the former
Bank of America
broker charged with late trading in the mutual fund scandal, has reached a partial verdict, media reports say.
The 12-member jury sent a note to the trial judge late Tuesday, saying they have reached a verdict on 20 of 33 criminal charges. But they are deadlocked on 13 remaining charges, according to
The jury said it is split 11-1 on the 13 undecided counts. The trial judge has indicated he will not accept a partial verdict.
The jury, which is in its fourth day of deliberations following a six-week trial in a New York state courtroom, did not indicate any of its votes on the charges.
Prosecutors have charged Sihpol with 22 counts of falsifying business records, seven counts of grand larceny and four securities fraud counts.
Sihpol is the first person to go to trial in the nearly three-year-old scandal that tainted much of the $7 trillion mutual fund industry. The trial is seen as a big challenge for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who owes much of his reputation for cleaning up Wall Street to his earlier success in collecting nearly $2.5 billion in civil fines in the mutual fund investigation.
Sihpol was the broker at Bank of America for Canary Capital Partners, the now-infamous New Jersey hedge fund that has played a central role in the trading scandal. He is charged with helping the hedge fund engage in illegal late trading of mutual fund shares.
The former broker is accused of helping Canary evade the 4 p.m. cutoff time for submitting mutual fund trades, a move that permitted Canary to profit from the impact of late-breaking, market-moving news. During the trial, Spitzer's prosecutors introduced evidence that Sihpol put false time stamps on mutual fund order tickets for Canary to make it appear the trades were submitted before the 4 p.m. deadline.
Sihpol's defense strategy was to argue that his supervisors at Bank of America were aware of his dealings with Canary and that the former broker has been singled out by Spitzer's office. But Sihpol's lawyer never called a single witness of their own to the stand. Instead, the broker's lawyers chose to make all their points on cross-examination of prosecution witnesses.
Defense lawyers argued that Sihpol did not intend to break the law. They also stressed that he was the only person from Bank of America to be charged criminally, even though the bank paid one of the heftiest fines in the mutual fund investigation.
No one from Canary, including the hedge fund's former manager Edward Stern, has been charged criminally in the trading scandal.