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U.S. indicts SAC Capital on fraud charges

The SEC brought a civil case against the fund’s manager, Steven Cohen, earlier this week

Days after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Steven A. Cohen with ignoring insider trading at his hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, the U.S. government has indicted SAC itself on charges of wire and securities fraud.

Federal prosecutors accuse the $15 billion fund of “systematic insider trading” that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten profits, NBC News reports. The alleged scheme, which prosecutors say lasted from 1999 to 2010, purportedly helped the fund increase its returns and fees.

According to the government, SAC purposefully hired research analysts and portfolio managers who had contacts at public companies, and then ignored signs that those employees may be engaging in insider trading. Two of the fund’s traders, Matthew Martoma and Michael Steinberg, were previously charged with insider trading.

“The relentless pursuit of an information ‘edge’ fostered a business culture … in which there was no meaningful commitment to ensure that such ‘edge’ came from legitimate research and not financial information,” the criminal charges claim.

The government, which wants SAC to give up any fraud-related profits, did not charge Cohen as part of the indictment.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of insider trading, see:

SEC charges hedge-fund manager Steven A. Cohen

Survey reveals murky ethical compass on Wall Street

3rd Circuit upholds longest insider-trading sentence

Rajaratnam's conviction upheld

Former Bristol-Myers exec admits guilt in insider trading case

Alanna Byrne

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