U.S. insider trading informant Fortuna gets two years probation

NEW YORK Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:42pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge in Manhattan on Wednesday sentenced former hedge fund manager Steven Fortuna, who was among several informants in the government's broad insider trading crackdown, to two years of probation for insider trading.

Fortuna pleaded guilty in October 2009 to four counts of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to a sentencing memorandum that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed on February 4th.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein also ordered Fortuna, 50, to forfeit $200,000.

A 1993 graduate of Columbia Business School, Fortuna worked for years as a sell-side analyst of technology companies and in 2008 helped launch a hedge fund, S2 Capital LLC, according to the sentencing memorandum.

In 2008, while probing the hedge fund Galleon Group, investigators intercepted wiretapped calls between Fortuna and other subjects of their investigation, according to the sentencing memorandum. Fortuna obtained inside information about technology companies including Akamai Inc and chip manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices Inc, according to the sentencing memorandum.

Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam, a central focus of the government's investigation, is serving an 11-year prison term following his conviction for securities fraud and conspiracy charges in 2011.

Agents with the FBI approached Fortuna in 2009, and within weeks he agreed to cooperate with their investigation. Fortuna recorded more than 400 conversations for the FBI, prosecutors said. They said his cooperation helped lead to the convictions of Danielle Chiesi, a former portfolio manager with the hedge fund New Castle Partners, and Robert Moffat, a former executive with IBM.

Fortuna is the latest in a string of insider trading informants to be sentenced. Most recently, Ali Far, a former portfolio manager at Galleon, was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.

(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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