A Wall Street Golden Boy Blames Gambling Addiction for $100 Million Fraud

The Washington Post
July 6, 2016

Jordan A. Thomas weighs in on fraud scheme involving former Wall Street financier

Groomed at some of the country’s most elite private schools, Andrew Caspersen glided onto Wall Street with ease. His father was a well-known financier, and Caspersen followed in his footsteps. He snagged jobs in the close-knit private equity world, earning an annual salary north of $3 million. Last year, Caspersen called friends and family members with an investment opportunity, no one, it seems, blinked an eye. Caspersen quickly collected tens of millions from those closest to him, including his mother and brothers, as well as Wall Street insiders familiar with his pedigree.

However, according to federal prosecutors, Caspersen was living a lie. The private equity firm executive was running a Ponzi-like scheme, transferring money collected from investors to his personal brokerage accounts. Most of the money eventually vanished in a cloud of bad stock bets. 

The comparison rankles Wall Street veterans, who say professional trading is a skill honed over years. Using a gambling addiction to explain or mitigate a crime may be viewed skeptically by some prosecutors, said Jordan Thomas, a partner at Labaton Sucharow and a former Justice Department trial lawyer.

“Prosecutors will want to focus on what he did and on the harm that it caused, and they will be very skeptical of arguments that attempt to shift responsibility for his wrongdoing,” Thomas said.