Hedge Fund Late-Trader Begs Out Of Jail

Jan 16 2007 | 4:01pm ET

A former trader at hedge fund Millennium Partners has avoided jail time by cooperating with investigators in the mutual fund after-hours trading scandal that rocked the financial community back in 2003.
Steven Markovitz was sentenced to five years probation and 300 hours of community service on Tuesday for his role in late-trading at Millennium. A probe into the illegal practice of trading mutual funds after the closing bell was spearheaded by then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who now serves as the state’s governor.

Thomas Fitzpatrick, a lawyer for Markovitz, said that he thought the sentence was appropriate, and that it reflected the fact that his client has cooperated with regulators.

Millennium coughed up $180 million in penalties in late 2005 in order to end Spitzer’s probe of the firm. Over the last few years, the attorney general's office has reportedly recovered more than $4 billion in similar settlements from the industry.

“I'm here today because 3½ years ago, I broke the law,” Markovitz said. “At the time I believed this practice was in a gray area and did not understand I was committing a felony.”

Markovitz has also agreed to be permanently barred from working with a registered investment company.

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