U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs

$600,000 Knicks Seats Among Perks That Triggered Fine for BGC

Zeke Faux, Matt Robinson
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Tim Hardaway Jr. #3 of the New York Knicks takes a shot against Dwayne Bacon #7 of the Charlotte Hornets in the second half during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 7, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

BGC Partners Inc.’s Richard Anthony is a diehard Knicks fan who has long had courtside seats for a basketball team that’s known for annoying New Yorkers with its struggles. Now his fandom is contributing to irritations among Wall Street regulators.

A BGC brokerage unit was fined $1.25 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday over allegations that included failing to appropriately report sports tickets and travel expenses as compensation.

More from Bloomberg.com: Mueller Asks Manafort Judge to Immunize Five Witnesses

The perks included one broker receiving $600,000 a year in free athletic tickets and $100,000 for an international birthday celebration, according to the SEC. Another broker got $25,000 for two trips to Las Vegas, $11,000 for his bachelor party in New Orleans and four years of food and beverages paid for during weekend getaways to the Hamptons.

The SEC’s order didn’t name the recipients. The broker who received the sports tickets and international trip is Anthony, who oversees equity derivatives at BGC, according to two people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified.

More from Bloomberg.com: Amazon Suffers Tech Crash and Strikes During Prime Day

No Wrongdoing

Anthony, identified as Broker A by the SEC, has four courtside tickets to the Knicks that cost $3,600 per seat per game, he said in an interview with Bloomberg News in 2013. He was given the tickets as part of his employment contract, according to the SEC, and the agency didn’t allege that he did anything wrong or misled his bosses at BGC.

Anthony declined to comment as did his attorney. Karen Laureano-Rikardsen, a BGC spokeswoman, also declined to comment.

BGC was fined because it improperly recorded the expenses as travel and entertainment in its general ledger, when they should have been filed under employee pay, according to the SEC. In settling the case, the firm didn’t admit or deny the regulator’s allegations.

More from Bloomberg.com: Google Fined Record $5 Billion by EU, Given 90 Days to Stop ‘Illegal Practices’

“The federal securities laws require broker-dealers to maintain accurate books and records,” Marc Berger, director of the SEC’s New York office, said in a Tuesday statement.

$12,600 Party

The other broker is identified as Broker B. According to the SEC, he was also reimbursed $12,600 for a birthday party. At least eight friends were there, three of whom were also BGC customers. He clearly identified it on his expense report as "[Broker B] Birthday." The SEC says he did lie on his expenses about the trips to Vegas, claiming customers came who didn’t. Bloomberg couldn’t identify the other broker.

The SEC also said that one of BGC’s expense administrators stole at least $1.3 million from the firm by using another employee’s corporate card.

BGC, based in New York, is part-owned by Cantor Fitzgerald LP and both brokerage firms are run by Howard Lutnick.

More from Bloomberg.com

Read $600,000 Knicks Seats Among Perks That Triggered Fine for BGC on bloomberg.com