Ex-KIT CEO, Socialite Convicted at Fraud Trial

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by ajacobson, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Ex-KIT CEO, Socialite Convicted at Fraud Trial
    Bob Van Voris
    Erik Larson
    December 26, 2017, 1:27 PM CSTUpdated on December 26, 2017, 5:01 PM CST
    • Jury agrees the men manipulated shares at technology startup
    • Tuzman, Amanat blamed each other for company’s collapse

    Two technology entrepreneurs who rose to prominence in the years before the financial crisis were found guilty of manipulating shares in a digital-video software startup at the center of a complex fraud that spanned from China to Dubai.

    Former KIT Digital Inc. Chief Executive Officer Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, a Harvard graduate who spent more than four years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Omar Amanat, a tech-industry socialite who helped produce some of the "Twilight" films, were found guilty Tuesday of all the charges against them by a federal jury in Manhattan.

    After the verdict, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe ordered Amanat jailed until he’s sentenced, ruling he’s a risk to flee. Gardephe allowed Tuzman, who wept openly during part of the proceeding, to remain free on bond. They’re scheduled to be sentenced in April.

    The verdict, following a six-week trial, caps a remarkable change of fortunes for the pair. The onetime globetrotters avoided eye contact during the trial and blamed each other for the wrongdoing that sunk KIT. Neither man took the stand to testify in his own defense.

    Instead, three government witnesses who pleaded guilty, including two former KIT executives and a disgraced hedge-fund founder, told jurors of related frauds being directed by Tuzman and Amanat in an effort to hide their disastrous investment losses.

    The 12 jurors were also shown hundreds of pages of government evidence, including emails, text messages and corporate documents that illuminated the alleged scam and two related frauds from every angle.

    The men’s colorful histories gave a Hollywood sheen to the trial, which took place in a massive ceremonial courtroom despite sparse public attendance. Amanat’s lawyer, Randall Jackson, is a former prosecutor who won convictions against five of Bernard Madoff’s staffers.
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