NEW YORK >> A former U.S. congressman from Indiana was sentenced today to 22 months in prison for making illegal stock trades based on inside information while working as a consultant and lobbyist after he left office.
Former U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, 64, a House Republican from 1993 to 2011, was also ordered to forfeit $354,027, representing the amount of illegal gains, and to pay a $10,000 fine.
Buyer, a lawyer and Persian Gulf War veteran, once chaired the House Veterans’ Affairs committee and was a House prosecutor at ex-President Bill Clinton’s 1998 impeachment trial.
Buyer was convicted in connection with insider trading involving the $26.5 billion merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, announced in April 2018, and illegal trades in the management consulting company Navigant when his client Guidehouse was set to acquire it in a deal publicly disclosed weeks later.
Defense lawyers had requested home confinement and community service as a punishment while prosecutors urged a three-year prison sentence.
Judge Richard M. Berman said Buyer’s conviction by a jury in March was not a close call because the evidence against him “screams guilty.” The judge said Buyer lied when he testified at his trial about when he learned about mergers that he profited from.
Berman noted that he had previously rejected claims that Buyer was unjustly prosecuted or that he could not obtain a fair trial in Manhattan because the population of New York City favors Democrats. Berman named six suburban counties outside of the city where jurors were also drawn from.
Buyer was ordered to report to prison on Nov. 28.
Prior to being sentenced, Buyer, who is from Noblesville, Indiana, told the judge he should visit Indiana, where someone buying a dozen ears of corn for $6 off the back of an unmanned trailer might put the money in a container that already has $300 in it without worrying that anybody will snatch the cash.
“It’s an honor system. It’s how we live. It’s how I’ve lived my life,” he said.