U.S. investment adviser gets prison for insider trading on Pfizer-King deal

FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in New York, U.S., April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Long Island, New York, investment adviser was sentenced to six months in prison on Monday after he pleaded guilty to insider trading in connection with Pfizer Inc's <PFE.N> $3.6 billion acquisition of King Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Tibor Klein, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, according to federal prosecutors. He had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud last July.

"While Mr. Klein's conduct was indeed serious, in light of a number of related factors, we are disappointed by the sentence of incarceration," his lawyer Christopher Bruno said in an email.

Klein, the founder of Valley Stream-based Klein Financial Services, was also sentenced to six months of house arrest and 250 hours of community service, and ordered to forfeit $37,225 and pay a $20,000 fine, according to prosecutors.

The government said Klein was tipped about New York-based Pfizer's Oct. 2010 takeover of King by Robert Schulman, then a partner at the Hunton & Williams law firm in Washington, D.C., who had represented King in patent litigation since 2009.

Klein then bought King securities for himself, Schulman and clients, and passed the tip to his friend Michael Shechtman, a Florida stockbroker, resulting in more than $400,000 of overall illegal profit, prosecutors said.

Schulman, of McLean, Virginia, was convicted of insider trading last March by a Brooklyn federal jury. He had been a partner at the Arent Fox law firm in Washington, D.C. at the time of his arrest, and was later put on leave.

Shechtman, a former Ameriprise Financial Inc <AMP.N> stockbroker, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn in November 2014 to conspiracy, and has cooperated with prosecutors. He has not been sentenced.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges against Klein and Shechtman in September 2013. That case was put on hold until the criminal case was resolved.

Although the SEC did not sue Schulman, it alleged that he had become intoxicated on several glasses of wine while dining at home with his wife and Klein in August 2010, and blurted out: "It would be nice to be King for a day."

Klein took the hint and bought 60,600 King shares, including 800 for himself and 3,000 for Schulman, on the next trading day, the SEC said.


(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas)