Informant Is Spared Prison in Insider Case ; Ex-Analyst Who Gave Up 20 Names to Prosecutors Rewarded for Cooperating

By Lattman, Peter | International Herald Tribune, January 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

Informant Is Spared Prison in Insider Case ; Ex-Analyst Who Gave Up 20 Names to Prosecutors Rewarded for Cooperating


Lattman, Peter, International Herald Tribune


The former analyst, Wesley Wang, cooperated with the authorities and provided them with the names of about 20 people he said had engaged in criminal activity.

A former analyst at SAC Capital Advisors who has become a crucial informant in the U.S. government's insider trading investigations has avoided prison after a judge sentenced him to probation.

The former analyst, Wesley Wang, cooperated with the authorities and provided them with the names of about 20 people he said had engaged in criminal activity. He secretly recorded telephone conversations and wore a wire in meetings with former friends and colleagues. His role in the government inquiry, prosecutors said, has led to 10 convictions.

Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who presided over the sentencing in U.S. District Court in New York, said Wednesday that he had spared Mr. Wang because of his exceptional assistance.

"I take it that Mr. Wang's cooperation has been extraordinary," Judge Rakoff said. "Not just substantial, but going beyond substantial."

Mr. Wang, 39, is the latest government informant in the insider trading investigations to receive a noncustodial sentence. His lenient penalty highlights the benefits of cooperating.

Judge Rakoff noted the crucial role of cooperators -- and the mild punishments they receive -- in the American legal system.

"Prosecutors," he said, "could not achieve the major successes they've achieved in complex crimes like insider trading without asking judges to give a very substantial benefit to cooperators."

The Justice Department has aggressively relied on cooperation agreements in its multiyear campaign to eliminate insider trading. And a number of those defendants have led the authorities to illegal conduct at Mr. Wang's former employer, SAC Capital Advisors, the $14 billion hedge fund run by Steven A. Cohen, one of the wealthiest men in the United States. Mr. Cohen has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has told his investors that he believes he acted appropriately at all times.

At least two former SAC employees continue to assist the authorities in their investigation of SAC. Jon Horvath, a onetime SAC technology stock analyst, pleaded guilty last autumn and said in court that he traded on inside information along with his boss, Michael Steinberg, an SAC portfolio manager and top lieutenant to Mr. Cohen. Prosecutors have named Mr. Steinberg as a co-conspirator but have not filed criminal charges against him. His lawyer declined to comment. …

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