Ex-Bear Managers May Still Face Criminal Charges

Nov 17 2009 | 3:50am ET

Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, the former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers acquitted of fraud charges last week, aren’t out of the legal woods just yet.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says it expects it will proceed with its civil case against the two men. They also face lawsuits filed by investors and counterparties, including one from filed by Bank of America.

Civil charges, of course, carry no potential jail time. But despite their acquittal on securities fraud and, in Cioffi’s case, insider-trading charges, the two men may yet spend time behind bars.

That’s because one of the charges against them, a wire-fraud count, was tossed during their trial in Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court. Why? Because the crime wasn’t committed in the Eastern District of New York, which covers Long Island and the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. That charge could still be pursued by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, based in Manhattan.

The Bergen (N.J.) Record reports that the Manhattan federal prosecutors are still considering their options.

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