Ex-JPMorgan Broker Blew $20M of Client Money Gambling, Gets 5 Years
A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. broker who said he stole millions of dollars from customers because his brain was “hijacked” by an addiction to sports gambling was sentenced to five years in prison.
Michael Oppenheim, who at one point had about 500 clients and almost $90 million under management at JPMorgan, got so deeply in debt that, according to his lawyer, even his bookie expressed sympathy for him.
The former broker also got a break from U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, who said at a hearing in Manhattan Tuesday that his battle with gambling addiction and his care for his disabled daughter were why she gave him less than the 10 years prosecutors sought. She also noted that Oppenheim’s gambling intensified just months after the daughter was born.
“I am cognizant that gambling is a mental disorder which is aggravated during periods of stress and depression,” said Torres, who also credited Oppenheim for expressing remorse for his crimes.
Oppenheim wagered on weekly National Football League games starting in 1993 and eventually moved to online sports betting, his lawyer, Paul Shechtman, told Torres during the hearing. After losing hundreds of thousands of dollars while working at JPMorgan, Oppenheim began stealing from clients to attempt to make up his losses, he said. Oppenheim eventually began options trading in technology stocks like Apple Inc., losing as much as $2.7 million in one day in a fruitless effort to pay back clients, Shechtman said.