(Corrects 8th paragraph to show that 250 trades were at issue, not 1,250)
By Nate Raymond and Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON, April 24 (Reuters) - A former Eaton Vance Corp portfolio manager has agreed to plead guilty to having engaged in a fraudulent scheme involving call options that enabled him to illegally make $1.9 million, according to papers filed in Boston federal court on Monday.
Kevin Amell, 45, a onetime vice president at the Boston-based asset management firm, agreed to plead guilty to securities fraud and forfeit $1.95 million as part of a deal in which prosecutors would seek a prison sentence of no more than 27 months, the documents said.
A lawyer for Amell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The misconduct of this former employee in willfully violating his duty of loyalty, firm compliance policies and federal securities laws is deeply regrettable,” Thomas Faust, Eaton Vance’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Amell’s plea hearing has yet to be scheduled. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday also filed a civil lawsuit against Amell, of Hingham, Massachusetts.
According to court papers, Amell’s scheme involved placing orders from his personal brokerage accounts to buy call options at specific prices and, within seconds, placing orders on behalf of Eaton Vance to sell the same options at matching prices.
Doing so guaranteed that Amell could buy the options sold by Eaton Vance at artificially low prices and then, within a short time frame, sell the options to third parties at higher prices, according to the charging documents.
They said from December 2014 to February 2017, Amell engaged more than 250 such trades, according to prosecutors, enabling him to make more than $1.9 million in profits.
In his statement, Faust said Eaton Vance has opened an investigation since learning about the matter on April 18 and is committed to ensuring that the asset manager’s funds are fully reimbursed for any harm they suffered.
Eaton Vance and its affiliates managed $380.9 billion in assets as of March 31, according to the company.
The case is U.S. v. Amell, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, no. 17-cr-10101. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Grant McCool)