Meetings & Information


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Andrew Caspersen ’99 sentenced four years in prison for securities fraud

News & Notes: Andrew Caspersen ’99 sentenced four years in prison for securities fraud

Casperson defrauded investors using an elaborate Ponzi scheme; he encouraged victims to invest their money with him, promising high returns, but instead used the money to fund his lavish lifestyle and gambling addiction.
Caspersen was arrested on March 26, 2016, at LaGuardia Airport after returning from a family vacation in Florida with wife Christina Frank Caspersen ’02 and their two children. On July 6, Caspersen, a former partner and managing director at investment bank PJT Partners’ Park Hill Group, pleaded guilty to one charge of security fraud and one charge of wire fraud.
Among others, victims of Caspersen’s Ponzi scheme included his mother and two brothers, the parents of his former girlfriend, Catherine MacRae ’00, who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and acquaintance James McIntyre ’99. The Moore Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of venerable hedge fund manager Louis Bacon’s firm Moore Capital Management, was defrauded out of $25 million. Caspersen lost most of the money he gathered in risky stock trading.
“Caspersen allegedly put on a shameful charade – creating fake email addresses, setting up misleading domain names, and inventing fictional financiers,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a press statement.
The four-year sentence is notably light, as federal prosecutors had sought to sentence Caspersen to 15 years in prison, arguing his fraud would have continued were he not arrested. The maximum prison term on each of the two counts is 20 years. Rakoff is known to be opposed to federal sentencing guidelines, which encourage long prison terms and lack of consideration of mitigating circumstances.
“No purpose will be served by letting him rot in prison for years on end,” Rakoff said during the sentencing.
Caspersen’s light sentence was due to his legal team, led by Paul Shechtman, arguing that his mental health issues caused him to commit his crime. Shechtman claimed that Caspersen’s gambling addiction began during his undergraduate years at the University.  In an uncommon move, Rakoff allowed Yale University School of Medicine psychiatry professor Dr. Marc Potenza to testify that Caspersen’s fraud was due to a gambling addiction. Caspersen told Rakoff that he has suffered from depression and alcoholism and that he spent 16 days in the hospital for mental health issues following his March arrest.
Caspersen graduated from the University with a degree in economics and a thesis entitled “The Future of the NYSE Specialist” before enrolling at Harvard Law School.

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