MANHATTAN (CN) — Already in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a former tech chief pleaded guilty on Friday to criminal charges that he hid proceeds from the sale of Louis XV antiques in an offshore account to dodge federal regulators.
Robert Olins, 59, once served as CEO of SpatiaLight, which made high-resolution displays for computers and TVs before going belly up amid legal troubles.
Since 2011, Olins has been struggling to pay the commission a $3.3 million judgment for illegally selling unregistered securities and failing to file paperwork.
The West Hartford, Conn. resident jumped from the frying pan and into the fire last summer when federal prosecutors compounded his civil judgment with criminal allegations.
In what prosecutors called a “brazen shell game,” Olins pocketed $657,000 from the sale of three porcelain vases depicting “Louis the Beloved” and a bronze-gilt dragon candelabra that he snuck past a court-appointed receiver.
Antiques dealer Henry Neville, the ex-director of the Madison Ave. gallery Mallett Antiques, pleaded guilty last month to charges that he helped Olins wire $160,000 from the sales to an account in the Isle of Man.
Olins copped to two of the charges in his indictment — obstruction of justice and money laundering — on Friday at a brief hearing before Judge Jesse Furman.
The former tech executive read from a carefully worded statement admitting to the prosecutors’ allegations, and acknowledging that he intended to cheat regulators.
“I did know it was wrong,” he told the judge.
Olins faces a maximum of 25 years in prison and will be sentenced on Sept. 21.
He also could rack up $750,000 in additional fines, or twice the pecuniary gain of his proceeds.
Both Olins and his attorney declined to comment outside the courtroom.
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