Ex-Eaton Vance trader pleads guilty in U.S. to options fraud

Reuters News
Posted: May 23, 2017 1:16 PM

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) - A former Eaton Vance Corp portfolio manager pleaded guilty on Tuesday to an illegal options trading scheme that defrauded the company and allowed him to make $1.9 million in profits.

Kevin Amell, who had been a vice president at the asset management company, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court to one count of securities fraud as part of a plea agreement that prosecutors announced last month.

Under the deal, prosecutors are recommending a prison sentence of no more than 27 months, and Amell, 45, will forfeit $1.95 million. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Aug. 16.

From December 2014 to February 2017, Amell caused Eaton Vance to sell options at below-market prices, prosecutors said. He then bought them using his personal brokerage accounts, according to prosecutors.

"Within a very short time frame, he then resold those options in the open market at a higher price, taking for himself profits that could have been realized by Eaton Vance," Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Frank said in court.

Frank said Amell also occasionally bought options in the open market that he then resold to Eaton Vance at a higher price.

In total, Amell executed more than 250 such trades, according to charging documents.

Boston-based Eaton Vance, which with its affiliates managed $380.9 billion in assets as of March 31, has previously said it was committed to ensuring its funds were fully reimbursed for any harm they suffered.

The case is U.S. v. Amell, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, no. 17-cr-10101.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)