Saturday, 13 February 2016
Last updated 10 hours ago
Oct 1 2012 | 6:39am ET
A hedge fund executive who pleaded guilty in a pay-to-play scandal at New York's main public pension fund was spared prison time on Friday.
Barrett Wissman, formerly of Dallas-based HFV Management, was one of the first cracks in the scam, pleading guilty in 2009 and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. He is one of eight people to plead guilty in the kickback scheme, which ensnared several high-profile alternative investment funds and a number of high-ranking New York State officials.
Two of those officials, former Comptroller Alan Hevesi and his top political adviser, Hank Morris, were sent to prison, but Wissman was spared that fate in recognition of his cooperation. A New York State judge on Friday allowed him to withdraw his 2009 felony plea; Wissman now stands convicted of only a misdemeanor. Judge Bart Stone sentenced Wissman to a conditional discharge, which means he is free unless he commits another crime.
Wissman agreed to pay $12 million as part of his plea deal and has been barred from the financial services industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has returned to his role as chairman of IMG Artists, which represents classical musicians; he had resigned from the agency in 2009 after pleading guilty.
Wissman admitted to paying $600,000 in kickbacks to win a $100 million investment by New York in HFV. In addition to the hedge fund, the likes of the Carlyle Group, Quandrangle Group and Riverstone Holdings have all settled civil actions in the case.
Three men still await sentencing in the case, including the founder of private equity fund Markstone Capital Partners, Elliott Broidy, Aldus Equity founder Saul Meyer, and former New York pension official David Loglisci.