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SINGER CHIEF IS CONVICTED OF FRAUD AND TAX VIOLATIONS

SHARE SINGER CHIEF IS CONVICTED OF FRAUD AND TAX VIOLATIONS

Singer Co. Chairman Paul A. Bilzerian was convicted Friday of fraud and tax violations in the first jury verdict in the government's three-year crackdown on Wall Street securities crime.

The federal court jury returned its decision on the second day of deliberations.The Bilzerian case was the first prosecution of a corporate raider using information derived from the Ivan Boesky insider trading scandal that broke in 1986.

Bilzerian, 38, a Tampa, Fla., investor who won control of Singer last year, was convicted of nine counts of breaking securities and tax laws and making false statements in connection with three failed takeover attempts and another stock transaction in 1985 and 1986.

He faces a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison and $2.25 million in fines. Bilzerian was freed on $250,000 bond pending sentencing Aug. 16.

Bilzerian's attorney, Arthur F. Mathews, said he will appeal.

Originally indicted on 12 counts, Bilzerian got one count dismissed in April and U.S. District Judge Robert Ward combined four conspiracies into two counts on Wednesday.

None of the charges involved Bilzerian's $1.06 billion takeover of Singer, the Stamford, Conn., defense contractor, last year.

Bilzerian showed no emotion as he stood to hear the jury's verdict. His wife, Terri, who sat in the spectators' section, also was expressionless.

The government said Bilzerian made millions of dollars by accumulating stock in takeover targets while concealing ownership of the stocks in secret accounts and then selling his holdings after the stock price had risen.

"The government put on an excellent case," said jury foreman Paul O'Neill.

Bilzerian testified, admitting supplying misleading information to the Securities and Exchange Commission but explaining his actions as either inadvertent or mistaken interpretations of the law.

He also denied engaging in bogus securities trades to obtain illegal tax losses.

The key prosecution witness was Boyd L. Jefferies, founder of a California brokerage that bears his name. Jefferies, who was implicated by Boesky and in turn implicated Bilzerian, pleaded guilty to securities law violations in 1987.