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SAC Capital Advisors and its founder hope to settle with SEC

The hedge fund is accused of creating a culture of rampant securities fraud

SAC Capital Advisors and its founder, Steven A. Cohen, would like to put the embarrassing past few months behind them—in the name of a settlement.

Over the summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was busy building their case against the hedge fund and its founder. After years of investigations against Cohen, the SEC finally charged him in late July, accusing the billionaire of ignoring “red flags” that indicated two of his traders were using illegal tips. The alleged insider trading occurred in 2008 by Matthew Martoma and Michael Steinberg, former SAC portfolio managers. Both men face their own criminal and civil charges in November, and they have both refused to settle or accuse Cohen with misconduct.

Then, only a few days later, the SEC charged SAC Capital with systematic insider trading that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten profits.

According to Bloomberg, which talked to people familiar with the case, SAC lawyers approached the SEC recently to discuss a settlement, which would likely involve a substantial fine “in the neighborhood of $1 billion.” The SEC has indicated it wants to impose a financial penalty that will inflict personal monetary pain on Cohen without harming investors.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that the securities fraud within SAC was “substantial, pervasive, and on a scale without known precedent in the hedge fund industry.” He also added that the company is “a magnet for market cheaters.”

Cohen has denied all the charges and says that he and his firm behaved appropriately.

Read more about this story on BloombergBusinessweek.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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