NEW YORK – Frank Quattrone (search), a former star investment banker who once earned $120 million in a year, will be sentenced on Wednesday for obstructing a federal investigation into some of the most popular stock offerings of the 1990s.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, experts say the price for Quattrone's crimes will likely be between 10 and 16 months in a minimum security prison camp, probably close to his home in California.
However, if prosecutors decide to argue that Quattrone lied on the witness stand, and the judge agrees with them, he could receive a longer term.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the sentn technology companies.
Quattrone was convicted in May of obstructing a grand jury probe, obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission (search) probe and witness tampering. It was his second trial, after the first ended with a hung jury.
Quattrone, whose lawyers are appealing the conviction, is the most powerful securities industry executive to face jail time since junk bond king Michael Milken (search) in the early 1990s.
His sentencing also follows on the heels of trendsetter Martha Stewart's (search), who was ordered by a federal judge in the same courthouse to spend five months in prison and five months under house arrest for obstructing an unrelated securities fraud investigation.
Quattrone, who grew up in blue-collar South Philadelphia, had helped take such companies as Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Netscape Communications Inc. (search) public before he moved to Credit Suisse First Boston (search) in 1998. A jury found that at CSFB in late 2000 Quattrone interfered with an investigation into whether the bank had doled out shares of the most popular initial public offerings to hedge funds in exchange for kickbacks.
At issue in Quattrone's trial was whether he hampered that investigation when he endorsed a subordinate's e-mail advising staff that it was "time to clean up those files."
Prosecutors charged that Quattrone sent the e-mail to his staff urging them to get rid of old files because he had been told the bank was under investigation by a grand jury.
For his part, Quattrone testified that he simply failed to connect the investigation and e-mail in his mind. He said he believed the probe involved a different division of CSFB.
U.S. District Judge Richard Owen, who is known to be tough on defendants, presided over the trial and will decide the sentencing on Wednesday. Indeed, Quattrone's lawyers have complained about a number of Owen's rulings, and the two sides frequently sparred during the trials.
After the first trial, when Owen caustically described lead defense attorney John Keker as a New York fire hydrant that goes "on and on," Quattrone's team unsuccessfully requested a new judge for the second trial.
Relations appeared just as strained in the second trial, when Keker complained that the judge's "facial expressions — puffing your cheeks, leaning on your hands, conveys to me and I believe the jury that you are extremely impatient and hostile to the defense."