Billionaire Joe Lewis Won't End Up Behind Bars

Ex-Tottenham Hotspur owner, 87, avoids jail time in insider trading case due to age, declining health
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2024 7:21 AM CDT
UK Billionaire, Soccer Team Owner Charged in US With Insider Trading
Tavistock founder Joe Lewis stands on the 18th green after the second day of the Tavistock Cup golf tournament in Windermere, Fla., March 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
UPDATE Apr 5, 2024 7:21 AM CDT

Joe Lewis won't see prison after all. The 87-year-old ex-owner of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team was sentenced on Thursday for his role in an insider trading case that's said to have made his friends and associates millions, but US District Judge Jessica Clarke went easy on him Thursday due to his age and bad health, per the Wall Street Journal. Instead of jail time, the New York judge hit Lewis, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud in January, with three years' probation and a $5 million fine. Federal sentencing guidelines had recommended a prison sentence of between 18 months and two years. "Mr. Lewis' life would be at serious risk if he were to be incarcerated," Clarke said. Prosecutors agreed. "I'm here today because I made a terrible mistake. I'm ashamed," Lewis, one of the 500 richest people in the world, said in federal court before being sentenced, per the AP.

Jul 26, 2023 12:00 AM CDT

British billionaire Joe Lewis, owner of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, has been charged in the US with insider trading. Lewis, the 86-year-old founder of the Tavistock Group investment firm who's worth an estimated $6.1 billion, is accused of passing on confidential stock tips regarding the businesses he invested in, in an effort to "shower gifts on his friends and lovers," a US attorney said in announcing the charges, per the BBC. "We allege that, for years, Joe Lewis abused his access to corporate board rooms and repeatedly provided inside information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, his private pilots, and his friends," the prosecutor says, calling the alleged scheme a "brazen" one that spanned the years from 2013 to 2021.

Lewis' pals allegedly made millions of dollars off the tips, which the prosecutor noted wasn't "necessary" considering how wealthy Lewis already is, Reuters reports. He has been charged with 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy. In one case, prosecutors allege, a pilot texted a friend, "Boss lent Marty and I $500,000 each for this," meaning Lewis loaned them the money to invest. The pilot allegedly hypothesized that "the Boss has inside info" because "otherwise why would he make us invest." The UK and the US have a bilateral extradition treaty, NBC News reports, but Lewis' attorney says Lewis came to the US voluntarily "to answer these ill-conceived charges," which he says were made in "egregious error." (More insider trading stories.)

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