SAC Facing Years-Long Probe

Jun 7 2013 | 2:37pm ET

Next month's statute of limitations deadline to file criminal charges against either SAC Capital Advisors or founder Steven Cohen may not bring the embattled hedge fund much relief.

Prosecutors have until July 29 to file charges relating to the allegedly illegal trades in two pharmaceutical companies that already have former SAC portfolio manager Mathew Martoma in the dock. There is another deadline in August to file charges related to trades in Dell Inc. shares that have produced charges against SAC portfolio manager Michael Steinberg. Both Martoma and Steinberg have denied the allegations.

But in spite of those looming deadlines, there is reportedly no panic at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan.

Prosecutors are still investigating other suspicious trades at SAC, including some that date to 2011. If they can make a case on those trades, they'd have until February 2016 to bring charges.

Other trades under investigation have statute-of-limitations deadlines ranging from next year until 2015.

What's more, if prosecutors were to make any of those cases, they could revive charges stemming from the older case. The U.S. Attorney's Office is considering a pair of strategies that would give them more time.

One, using racketeering laws against Cohen, would give them another five years on the Martoma trades. But prosecutors are also considering the "hub-and-spoke" conspiracy theory, which holds that if it can be shown that Cohen conspired with a number of traders over time, all of the trades in question could be prosecuted, the New York Post reports.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is "not buying into the statute of limitations," a source told the Post.

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