* Sonja Anticevic ordered to pay $3.08 mln civil fine
* Defendant was aunt of a ringleader in insider scheme
(Adds comments from Anticevic's former counsel)
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, Nov 30 A federal judge has ordered a
retired Croatian seamstress to pay more than $5.7 million for
her role in an insider trading ring involving two former
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) employees.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood directed the seamstress,
Sonja Anticevic, to give up $2.63 million of ill-gotten profits
and interest, and pay a $3.08 million fine, in an order filed
on Monday in Manhattan federal court.
Wood granted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's
motion for a default judgment. The civil fine equals 1-1/2
times Anticevic's estimated ill-gotten gains, which totaled
nearly $2.06 million. The SEC had sought a treble fine.
The case first surfaced in 2005, and is one of the more
unusual insider trading cases in recent years.
It included accusations that Anticevic, who was 63 at the
time, held two brokerage accounts in her name that were used
for illegal insider trades.
Prosecutors previously obtained guilty pleas from former
Goldman broker David Pajcin, who is Anticevic's nephew, and his
colleague Eugene Plotkin for their roles in obtaining $6.7
million of illegal profits.
Investigators said the ring traded on tips about pending
mergers, including Adidas AG's purchase of shoemaking rival
Reebok International Ltd, and the progress of a grand jury
probe concerning drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N).
Tippers included a former Merrill Lynch & Co employee and a
New Jersey postal worker who served on the grand jury, both of
whom also pleaded guilty to criminal charges.
The SEC expects to recover at least much of Anticevic's
"The most significant point is that a large portion of the
money has been frozen, so while it is often hard to collect
against a foreign defendant, we expect to be able to," said
Scott Black, a senior SEC lawyer who has been handling the
case, in an interview.
According to court records, Jonathan Kaye withdrew in July
as Antecevic's lawyer, and no one has replaced him.
Kaye told Reuters he had held discussions with the
government that could have resulted in a settlement that did
not include a fine. But he was not able to find his client and
secure her consent for a deal.
"All my efforts to contact her in Croatia all went without
any reply whatsoever," Kaye said.
Asked if the judge's order was enforceable, Kaye said: "I
would have no idea. I'm sure the government knows lots of
things I don't know."
Anticevic could not immediately be located.
Pajcin is believed to have fled the country, Black said.
Neither Pajcin nor his lawyer could immediately be
The SEC in July moved for a judgment under which Pajcin
would pay more than $27.7 million representing fines,
ill-gotten gains and interest.
The case is SEC v. Anticevic et al, U.S. District Court,
Southern District of New York, No. 05-6991.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Carol Bishopric)
((firstname.lastname@example.org +1 646 223 6317; Reuters