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Tech bubble banker goes to jail

Quattrone gets 18 months

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At the height of the dot.com IPO mania he helped create, investment banker Frank Quattrone's worries included the public flotations of companies like Cisco, Amazon.com and Netscape. Now his main worry will be dropping the soap in the showers.

After a probe and successful prosecution by the Department of Justice, Quattrone yesterday was sentenced to eighteen months for obstruction of justice. Five hundred 'Friends of Frank' - he'll doubtless have some new friends fairly shortly, if he keeps that mustache - added their support in a last minute appeal, but to no avail.

The Credit Suisse First Boston banker was known as the 'Go To' guy during the boom. Unfortunately he was also known as the 'Come Away With Your Pockets Full' guy, too. Through his notorious Friends of Frank operation, tech CEOs were rewarded with stock from the flotations that Quattrone oversaw. The star banker ruthlessly exploited his position: for example asking for, and getting, a $6.5 million payment from Research In Motion to resume coverage and "return them to 'Most Favored Nation' status", in Frank's own words.

Quattrone may feel that he's a scapegoat, but it's hard to sympathize with a man who has shown no contrition whatsoever, and whose grasp of personal responsibility is so weak that as he changed into his pinstripes, he was still maintaining his innocence. As such, he's become an emblem for a Silicon Valley that can't mend its ways - and that isn't just a problem for Frank. While the dot.com bubble he helped create has resulted in the largest loss of wealth in human history, and 401(k)s have shrunk, Quattrone retains his incredible nine figure fortune.

He'll never have to work again.®

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