Ex-Jefferies Hedge Fund Manager Guilty Of Insider-Trading

Oct 7 2010 | 12:34pm ET

A former Jefferies Group hedge fund manager has been convicted of insider-trading.

Joseph Contorinis was found guilty of one count of conspiracy and seven counts of securities fraud charges yesterday. The former general partner of Jefferies Asset Management’s Paragon Fund faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing in February.

Contorinis was arrested last February, accused of both leaking confidential information about the 2006 acquisition of supermarket chain Albertsons to family and friends, and of using it himself. All told, according to the authorities, the former made $11.6 million in illicit profits, while the Paragon fund earned an illegal $7.2 million.

Following a three-week-long trial in Manhattan federal court, it took a jury just two days to reject Contorinis’ argument that his frequent trading in Albertsons shares made it impossible for him to profit from the non-public information.

“On top of this office’s recent insider-trading convictions, today’s guilty verdict sends yet another strong message of deterrence to anyone who is thinking about gaming the system like Joseph Contorinis did,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Contorinis’ conviction is the fourth in the Albertsons case. Three others pleaded guilty, including former UBS banker Nicos Stephanou, who served as a key witness against Contorinis.

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