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Appeals Court Upholds Conviction of Baptist Pastor Sentenced in Insider Trading Scheme

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The U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld the conviction of a former Baptist minister sentenced in an insider trading scheme that earned him an $18 million profit.

Vitaly Korchevsky, who was the pastor of Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Pa., and a former hedge fund manager, was convicted in 2018 for leading a plot in which intermediaries paid hackers to gain access to corporate press releases before they were published. The press releases gave him inside information on major events about to happen within companies that could affect stock prices. 

He used part of the proceeds to buy property including several homes and a shopping center, reports said. 

Korchevsky was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and computer intrusion, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of securities fraud. He also was ordered to pay $14.4 million in forfeiture and a $250,000 fine.  

Co-defendant Vladislay Khalupsky, a securities trader, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment.  

Korchevsky and Khalupsky appealed, claiming insufficient evidence to support their conviction, among other claims. The court affirmed the conviction on July 19, however, after finding no merit for the arguments. 

Korchevsky was well-known in the Russian- and Ukrainian-language communities and traveled across the country to preach to Baptist congregations, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. He had led the Association of Slavic Baptist Churches USA since 2000.

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In 2009, he had started a hedge fund, NTS Capital Fund, which the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission said was a vehicle for the illegal stock transactions.

He also had his own YouTube channel where he offered financial advice in Russian.

Congregants said they were shocked to learn of Korchevsky’s activities at the time of his arrest, calling him “a good pastor” and “the best preacher” and creating a Facebook group to rally behind and pray for him, The Inquirer reported.

Korchevsky was born in Kazakhstan and lived in the Soviet Union until 1989 when he immigrated to the United States.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.