Financial Regulatory Forum

Why U.S. inside traders escape harsh sentences

US Courthouse, New YorkBy Andrew Longstreth

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Reuters Legal) – The recent flurry of insider-trading arrests by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney has set Wall Street on edge. But if recent history is any guide, people found guilty of that crime tend to get off relatively easy, a Reuters Legal analysis suggests.

The analysis covers sentences imposed in 2009 and 2010 in 15 insider-trading cases brought by the U.S. Attorney in New York, representing virtually all those imposed in that court during this period. Of these, 13 sentences, or nearly 87 percent, were lighter than the terms prescribed by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines — and seven of the sentences carried no prison time at all. The data from 2009, culled from a report issued last year by law firm Morrison & Foerster, reveal that only one prison term, for 63 months, was issued for insider trading in 2009.

The routine practice of departing downward from the guidelines in insider-trading cases is particularly striking given the much lower rate at which judges in the New York federal court typically do so. According to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics from fiscal 2009, New York federal judges departed downward from the guidelines in 57 percent of all cases, a full 30 percentage points lower than for insider-trading cases alone. (more…)

Lessons from Galleon

In the prosecution of Galleon Group, the SEC and the Justice Department have charged the principals of the hedge fund with receiving inside information. Court documents reveal a pattern of self-destruction at the firm, according to Marianne M. Jennings, professor of legal and ethical studies at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, writing in Thomson Reuters Checkpoint’s WG&L Accounting & Compliance Alert. (more…)

U.S. SEC says insider-trading may be a “business model” for some hedge funds

Robert Khuzami, director of Enforcement at the Securities Exchange Commission, speaks at a news conference in Washington, June 19, 2009.    REUTERS/Joshua Roberts    (UNITED STATES CRIME LAW BUSINESS)   By Jonathan Stempel and Rachelle Younglai
NEW YORK, Nov 6 (Reuters) – A top U.S. securities regulator said some funds may now view insider trading as a central tenet of their business models, rather than as a one-time opportunity for big rewards as sometimes happened in the 1980s.

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New arrests in Galleon insider-trading case

NEW YORK, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Nine more people have been arrested in the Galleon Group insider-trading scandal, bringing to 15 the number charged in the biggest hedge fund-related case in history.

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