SAC's Steinberg Gets 3-1/2 Years in Prison for Insider Trading

Former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager Michael Steinberg was sentenced to 3½ years in prison on Friday for insider trading.

Steinberg is the eighth former SAC employee to either be convicted or plead guilty to insider trading charges in the wake of a decade-long investigation by federal prosecutors of the once-powerful hedge fund founded by Steven A. Cohen.

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U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan handed down the sentence in federal court in Manhattan and ordered Steinberg to pay a $2 million fine and forfeit $365,142 in profits he reaped by illegally trading on inside information.

Steinberg was convicted in December on five counts related to securities fraud in connection with insider trading of the technology stocks Dell and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA).

Steinberg, who began at SAC in 1997, was accused of obtaining material non-public information about Dell and Nvidia through a complex network of consultants and other sources.

In one such example from 2008, the government alleged Steinberg, through the network, received information that Dell's gross margins would be "materially lower than market expectations." Steinberg allegedly executed a large short position in the PC-maker -- a bet that the stock will fall -- based on that information.

Stamford, Conn.-based SAC has been at the center of 10-year focus on insider trading by prosecutors based out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Despite the total of eight convictions and or guilty pleas, the central focus of the investigation -- Cohen -- has not been charged criminally.

The firm itself pleaded guilty to criminal charges last year and was banned from managing outside clients’ money. SAC, which was renamed Point72 Asset Management earlier this year, now manages Cohen’s considerable personal fortune, said to be worth about $9 billion.

Another SAC portfolio manager, Mathew Martoma, was convicted of insider trading in February and is awaiting sentencing.