Ex-Evercore banker pleads guilty to insider trading charges
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former investment banker at Evercore Group pleaded guilty on Wednesday to criminal charges that he engaged in insider trading and used proceeds to pay a one-time mistress to support their child.
Frank Perkins Hixon Jr., a former senior manager at the bank, pleaded guilty to six criminal counts at a hearing in the U.S. district court in Manhattan.
The defendant was accused in February of using inside information to arrange trades in the stock of Evercore's parent and two other companies, through accounts held by Hixon's ex-girlfriend and his father.
The other two companies besides Evercore Partners Inc were Westway Group, which merged last year with EQT Infrastructure II, and Titanium Metals Corp, which was purchased last year by Precision Castparts Corp.
Authorities said the suspect trades occurred in accounts held by the mother of Hixon's young child in Austin, Texas and a close relative in Johns Creek, Georgia.
In a related civil lawsuit, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the accounts belonged to Destiny Wind Robinson, Hixon's former girlfriend, and Frank Hixon Sr., his father.
Hixon pleaded guilty to six counts including securities fraud, securities fraud in connection with a tender offer and making a false statement.
According to a plea agreement, Hixon could face 46 months to 57 months in prison under recommended federal guidelines, and has agreed to forfeit the $710,000 earned in the scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for August 1.
Hixon, who is married, told authorities he ended his relationship with Robinson in 2009, about the time the child was born, according to court documents.
The SEC's lawsuit said that text messages between the two had suggested the insider trading was at least partly intended to support their child.
"I am sorry these actions affected my family and my friends," Hixon said in court.
George Sard, an Evercore spokesman, said the company had immediately reported suspicious trading linked to Hixon after discovering it last year, and has cooperated with authorities.
"The acts of one rogue employee do not define our firm," he said.
The criminal case is U.S. v. Hixon, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-mj-0341. The civil case is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Hixon, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, No. 14-158.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)