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Ex-CEO gets 2 years U.S. prison for hiding assets amid SEC case
December 22, 2016 / 5:54 PM / a year ago

Ex-CEO gets 2 years U.S. prison for hiding assets amid SEC case

Dec 22 (Reuters) - A one-time chief executive has been sentenced to two years in prison for engaging in a scheme to pocket $657,000 he made selling antiques instead of using it to help pay a judgment obtained by U.S. regulators for illegal stock sales.

Robert Olins, the ex-CEO of the now-defunct SpatiaLight Inc, was sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan after pleading guilty in June charges that he conspired to obstruct justice and engaged in money laundering.

The judge also ordered Olins to forfeit $160,000 and pay restitution of $657,000, prosecutors said. A lawyer for Olins did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The case arose out of what prosecutors said were efforts by Olins, 59, to avoid making payments on a $3.4 million judgment that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission won against him in 2011.

The judgment stemmed from a 2007 lawsuit in California by the SEC against Olins, SpatiaLight, a high-definition television display maker, and Argyle Capital Management Corp, a company wholly owned by Olins.

The SEC had contended Olins and Argyle illegally sold more than 400,000 shares of SpatiaLight stock without disclosing those sales and while making misrepresentations to investors about the shares enabling him to net $2.6 million.

Prosecutors said Olins failed to make payments on the judgment, leading in 2012 to a judge appointing a receiver who would oversee the sale of pieces in his arts and antiques collection, valued at $8.6 million to $13.8 million.

The receiver itself, Oklahoma-based American Bank and Trust Company, had lent Argyle $3.5 million in 2003, of which $2.6 million remained unpaid. The proceeds of the sale were to be used to pay the receiver, the SEC and other creditors.

Not wanting to pay the SEC, Olins schemed with an antiques dealer, Henry Neville, to obscure the true value of items in the collection and to hide assets from the receiver and two federal courts, prosecutors said.

The scheme enabled Olins to earn $657,000 in undisclosed and unapproved income from the sale of a set of Louis XV antique vases and a pair of Louis XV gilt bronze dragon candelabra, prosecutors said.

Neville, who was a director of New York operations for antiques dealing company Mallett Inc, pleaded guilty in May to charges including obstruction of justice and conspiring to commit bank fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8.

The case is U.S. v. Olins, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-cr-00861. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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