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Accountant Convicted of Stock Fraud

May 4, 2001 GMT

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NEW YORK (AP) _ An accountant indicted in connection with a $100 million stock fraud case was convicted Friday of securities fraud and money laundering.

A jury in Brooklyn Federal Court found Dennis Gaito guilty after one day of deliberations. Gaito was ordered to surrender on Monday morning. He was scheduled to be sentenced on September 21. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison, lead prosecutor Daniel Alonso said.

Gaito was an accountant for Stratton Oakmont Inc., a defunct boiler-room brokerage on Long Island, which authorities say cheated investors out of at least $100 million during the 1990s.

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Prosecutors built their case around the testimony of Stratton founder and admitted swindler Jordon Belfort. In a bid to avoid a 30-year prison term, Belfort pleaded guilty last fall and agreed to testify against Gaito.

Belfort claimed Gaito cooked the firm’s books and sought to channel ill-gotten gains into a bogus holding company and overseas bank accounts.

Gaito’s attorney, Ronald Fischetti, did not immediately return a call for comment on Friday.

This was Gaito’s second trial. The first ended in a hung jury last fall.