Steven Mandala, a former Merrill Lynch & Co. broker, pleaded guilty to charges of grand larceny and identity theft Wednesday. Mandala's agreement, which was made in the New York state Supreme Court, was a promise that he will pay back $780,000 he stole from Merrill Lynch in exchange for an abbreviated two- to six-year prison sentence. A grand larceny conviction could have held a prison term of up to 15 years.
Mandala rejected an offer in April for a three- to nine-year prison term if he pleaded guilty to the top count of grand larceny. Maxim Group employed him as a stockbroker before he joined Merrill in April 2009. Mandala then falsely claimed he managed $300 million in assets and earned $765,000 a year in order to get a loan of $780,000 from Merrill, which was to be paid back over eight years.