Two-Year Sentence For Whitman, Found Guilty Of Insider-Trading

Jan 25 2013 | 1:19pm ET

Convicted hedge fund insider-trader Doug Whitman was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday.

Whitman, who was convicted in August of conspiracy and securities fraud, faced up to 20 years in prison, and prosecutors sought five. But even though U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff had harsh words for the first of the recent insider-trading defendants to testify in their own defense, he ignored sentencing guidelines that called for at least four years and three months in jail.

Rakoff said that Whitman was "basically a decent person." But the plaudits ended there.

"Mr. Whitman was someone who had no compunctions about going across illegal lines that he was very well aware of and excusing them and even bringing those excuses into the courtroom when that served his own interests," Rakoff said of the increasingly indecent-sounding Whitman. The judge added that Whitman was "cavalier and crude in his business dealings even when he wasn't breaking the law," and accused the Whitman Capital founder of perjury.

"I think, frankly, he repeatedly perjured himself," Rakoff said. "I think the evidence was quite overwhelming."

In two days of testimony, Whitman told the jury that he did not trade on material, non-public information, and explained that his understanding of the insider-trading statutes meant it was only illegal to trade on exact numbers received from corporate insiders, and not merely on general information.

In addition to his time behind bars—Rakoff said he would recommend that Whitman be sent to a federal prison in Lompoc, Calif., near Santa Barbara and about four hours south of his Bay Area home—the judge ordered Whitman to forfeit $935,000, imposed a $250,000 fine and sentencing him to one year of supervised release.

Whitman told Rakoff that he was "terribly, terribly sorry" and that "this is something that haunts me today and will for the rest of my life." But lest one thinks that the statement is a long-delayed admission of guilt, one of his lawyers said that Whitman "maintains his innocence and looks forward to vindication on appeal."

Rakoff said Whitman can remain free on bail pending that appeal.


In Depth

High Time For A Cannabis Hedge Fund?

Sep 30 2014 | 7:07am ET

Launching a hedge fund is always a gamble, but Leslie Bocskor's decision to launch...

Lifestyle

Griffin Donates $1M To Rauner's Illinois Gov. Campaign

Sep 22 2014 | 9:29am ET

Hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin definitely has a dog in this fight. The Citadel...

Guest Contributor

Appraisal Ratio Key To Evaluating Hedge Funds And Other New Investments

Sep 29 2014 | 3:07pm ET

As a former finance professor Peter Hecht experiences heartburn every time he hears...

 

Videos

Editor's Note

    Must Attend Hedge Fund Charity Events For October

    Sep 30 2014 | 9:29am ET

    The crisp Autumnal days of October are upon us, and so are a few of the hedge fund industry’s favorite charitable events. If you have never been to Rocktoberfest, well, you are missing out. And for a quieter evening of sipping and socializing, stop by HFC’s Wine Soiree. Read more…

 

Futures Magazine

September 2014 Cover

High frequency market making

High frequency trading is not evil, it is not a conspiracy and it really is not new; it is the natural evolution of the professional trading community making markets, providing liquidity and hopefully...

The Alpha Pages

TAP July/August 2014 Cover

The Alpha Pages Interview: Senator Rand Paul

Senator Paul sat down in the debut series of the Alpha Pages Interview to discuss the broken tax code, regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and his plans for the 2016 Presidential election.