* Pleads guilty to trading ahead of IBM deal
* Faces up to 45 years in prison
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - Former broker Thomas Conradt pleaded guilty Wednesday to insider trading charges related to trades he made ahead of a $1.2 billion acquisition by International Business Machines Corp in 2009.
In court on Wednesday, Condradt, 35, said he used tips from a roommate to trade on shares of Chicago-based software company SPSS before IBM agreed to buy it on July 28, 2009, for $1.2 billion. He also passed those tips along to several colleagues at the Manhattan office of Euro Pacific Capital Inc, the brokerage he was working at.
Conradt pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud. He faces up to 45 years in prison, U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter said at the hearing.
“I am deeply apologetic ... for my actions,” Conradt said, reading from a written statement. “I can assure the court that I will never put myself in this position again.”
Catherine Redlich, Conradt’s lawyer, declined to comment after the hearing.
David Weishaus, a co-defendant in the case was also in court on Wednesday. Judge Carter adjourned his hearing until June 5 so that he and his lawyer could review evidence.
Weishaus was also employed at Euro Pacific Capital, which is based in Westport, Connecticut, and he attended law school with Conradt in Baltimore, according to court papers.
Conradt’s former roommate, equities analyst Trent Martin, also faces charges for buying shares of SPSS before the deal. Martin, an Australian citizen, was arrested in December in Hong Kong and has been returned to the United States, according to court papers. Martin learned of the pending IBM deal from a close friend, a citizen of New Zealand, according to court papers.
Martin, Conradt, Weishaus and others made more than $1 million by trading on the information, prosecutors have said.
Martin was specifically named as the source of the information in instant messages between Conradt and Weishaus, authorities have said. Responding to Weishaus, who said another person had bought shares, Martin wrote: “god trent told me not to tell anyone ... big mistake.”
Weishaus responded, “eh, we’ll get rich,” according to the indictment of Martin, made public in December.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Carter asked Conradt if he’d sought any mental health treatment. Conradt said he has dealt with anxiety and depression “on and off” for the past 10 or 15 years.
Conradt continues to cooperate with investigators. Carter initially suggested July 2 for his sentencing, but pushed it back to Oct. 3 at the request of prosecutors while they continue their investigation.
The case is U.S. v. Conradt et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-cr-00887.