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6-month prison sentence served to ex-lawyer for insider trading

Cooperation with federal prosecutors saved him from more jail time

Cooperation with prosecutors did not equal a get-out-of-jail-free card for Brien Santarlas, a former lawyer at Ropes & Gray, who was sentenced on Wednesday to six months in prison for insider trading.

Santerlas and Arthur Cutillo, also a lawyer with Ropes & Gray, were accused of providing information about potential mergers to an insider-trading ring in exchange for cash, the Wall Street Journal reports. Among the deals they squealed on were Bain Capital’s bid for 3Com Corp. and a bid by TPG Capital to acquire Axcan Pharam Inc., both in 2007

As part of his cooperation, Santarlas was a key witness in the insider-trading trial of three former hedge-fund traders, earlier this year. He also wore a wire and recorded a conversation with Cutillo, which “comprised direct evidence of Cutillo’s participation in the scheme,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Fish in a sentencing letter earlier this month.

Even though it didn’t get him out of serving hard time, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said he would have given Santarlas three years in prison had he not cooperated. Cutillo was given 2 ½ years in prison this past June.

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