(PENNSYLVANIA) - An appeals court recently agreed to limit the sentence for J.P. Nacchio, a former businessman at Qwest Communications. The court had convicted Nacchio on nineteen counts of insider trading four years ago, and he had been sentenced to six years behind bars for the white collar crime. But his lawyers filed an appeal recently, arguing the sentence was excessive. The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit was convinced by the attorneys’ case, ruling that the judge who presided over Nacchio's original trial had overstated the value of Nacchio's financial gain from the crime.

In 2007, prosecutors alleged Nacchio had sold more than $52 million in Qwest stock upon discovering Qwest faced some financial problems. Nacchio hid the stock sale from the public, leading to the insider trading charges.

But under the appeal, a panel of three judges agreed with the attorneys for the defense that the $52 million figure was simply too high. Rather than use that figure, the attorneys stated the judge should have based his decision on the actual net profit resulting from the illegal insider trading – not the entire sale amount.

The appeals court did not indicate a new sentence or fine amount, leaving that decision up to a lower court ruling.