Tone Grant, the former president of Refco, once the largest independent commodities broker, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a $2.4 billion fraud that involved hiding huge trading losses from clients.
His sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in Manhattan at a hearing Thursday.
Grant, 64, was the lone top executive at Refco to face trial. His former colleague, ex-chief executive Phillip Bennett, pleaded guilty in February to 20 criminal counts a month before he was due to go to trial. Bennett was sentenced last month to 16 years in prison.
Prosecutors contend that Grant stood at Bennett's side in carrying out a massive fraud in an effort to lie about Refco's financial health. Their motive was to keep the firm afloat in the hopes of one day selling it for a big profit, the government argued.
Refco unraveled in 2005, shortly after it became a public company, after revealing that Bennett had hidden $430 million in bad customer debt. Refco stock plummeted and the company filed for bankruptcy.
Grant was convicted at trial of five criminal counts — conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. His lawyers have argued that, even if the government's evidence were to be accepted, that evidence shows Grant only played a relatively minor role in comparison to Bennett.
"Mr. Grant continues to maintain his innocence," Roger Zuckerman, one of his attorneys, said after the sentencing. "We look forward to the appeal."