By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, March 13 A former analyst affiliated with billionaire Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors LP has agreed to pay more than $203,000 and be banned from the securities industry to settle insider trading charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ronald Dennis, who worked at SAC's CR Intrinsic Investors LLC unit, was charged with enabling SAC and CR hedge funds in 2008 and 2009 to generate about $3.8 million of illegal profits and avoid losses in Dell Inc and Foundry Networks Inc.
The SEC said Dennis passed along advance tips about Dell's earnings and the acquisition of Foundry by Brocade Communications Systems Inc that he had learned from two friends who were also associated with hedge funds.
"His actions have cost him the privilege of working in the hedge fund industry ever again," Sanjay Wadhwa, senior associate director of the SEC's office in New York, said in a statement.
Dennis, 44, lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and did not admit nor deny the allegations in the SEC's civil lawsuit.
His lawyer Lawrence Gerschwer, had no immediate comment.
Dennis joins a growing list of people affiliated with SAC to be criminally or civilly charged with insider trading, including eight who have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
SAC itself agreed last year to pay $1.8 billion and plead guilty to fraud.
Cohen was not criminally charged, but the SEC is seeking to bar him from the financial services industry for failing to supervise portfolio managers Mathew Martoma and Michel Steinberg, who were both convicted of insider trading.
SAC no longer manages outside money and is converting to a family office that manages Cohen's $9 billion fortune. It is changing its name next month to Point72 Asset Management, a name based on the address of its office in Stamford, Connecticut.
'YOU DA MAN!!!'
According to Thursday's complaint, Dennis illegally passed along a July 2008 tip about the Foundry takeover that had come from his friend, hedge fund analyst Matthew Teeple.
The SEC also said Dennis passed along tips about at least two Dell earnings releases in 2008 and 2009 from another friend, former Diamondback Capital Management Inc analyst Jesse Tortora.
One of those tips concerned disappointing margins at Dell, which was disclosed on Aug. 28, 2008 and helped push that company's shares down more than 13 percent the following day.
Within minutes of the news, the complaint said, Tortora sent an instant message to Dennis saying "Your welcome," prompting Dennis to respond, "You da man!!! I owe you."
The same news formed the basis for the government's prosecution of Steinberg, who worked at SAC's Sigma Capital Management affiliate. Martoma worked at CR Intrinsic.
Tortora has pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors. Teeple has pleaded not guilty and faces an April 23 trial, according to court records. A lawyer for Teeple had no immediate comment on Thursday.
The case is SEC v. Dennis, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-01746.