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Watertown man convicted of securities fraud

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A 78-year-old Watertown man was convicted Thursday of securities fraud after he profited from the sale of a local bank based on an insider tip he received on a cocktail napkin at a local country club, authorities said.

Robert H. Bray was convicted by a jury in US District Court in Boston of one count of federal securities fraud, United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said.

Bray, the owner of a real-estate and construction company, received information from a former executive of Eastern Bank Corp. that it was going to buy the much smaller Wainwright Bank & Trust Co. of Boston in 2010. Bray allegedly used the information to buy shares of Wainwright at a discount. When Eastern bought the bank for twice the initial share price, Bray was able to make a $300,000 profit, according to Ortiz's office.

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Bray's tipster was a former Eastern Bank executive, John Patrick O'Neill, who pleaded guilty in 2014 in US District Court of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to court records. He is awaiting sentencing.

Bray faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine. Officials with Ortiz's office noted that actual sentences are typically less than the maximum penalties.

Bray's lawyer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.