A former top executive at the Credit Suisse Group was sentenced to 2 years in prison on Friday for inflating the value of mortgage bonds as the housing market collapsed.
The prison term makes the executive, Kareem Serageldin, one of the most senior Wall Street officials to serve time for criminal conduct during the financial crisis.
Serageldin remained stoic as Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the US District Court in Manhattan handed down the sentence, which was less than the roughly five-year sentence called for by non-binding sentencing guidelines. Hellerstein showed mercy on Serageldin in part because of what he said was a toxic culture at Credit Suisse and its rivals.
"He was in a place where there was a climate for him to do what he did," the judge said. "It was a small piece of an overall evil climate inside that bank and many other banks."
Serageldin, 40, led a group at Credit Suisse that traded in mortgage-backed securities. As the housing market soared, his group made hundreds of millions of dollars for the bank by pooling mortgage assets, slicing them up and selling the pieces to investors.