The 37-year-old Tortora, testifying for the third day in the case against SAC top money man Michael Steinberg, said his big year at now defunct hedge fund Diamondback was 2008, when his compensation hit $2.5 million. He only made $800,000 in 2009 and left the firm that was founded by former SAC portfolio managers early in 2010. Tortora, who is living with his parents in Florida while he awaits sentencing for his cooperation in the Steinberg trial, said he has only $100,000 left from his years of living high as a hedge-fund analyst. While the financial crash decimated portfolios of millions of Americans in 2008, that was Tortora’s big year, when insider trading tips about Dell, among others, paid off. Steinberg traded on that insider tip and knew it was illegal, prosecutors allege. Tortora said he lost $400,000 day trading and “several hundred thousands” in Las Vegas on blackjack and sports betting. He said he has also spent $400,000 on legal fees since his arrest on insider trading charges. While at Diamondback, he also fed insider tips to his stepfather, who did not know they were illegal. “In general, he’s done poorly,” Tortora told the jury. “He has lost a good amount of money.” [NYP]
Only Way To Get A Gold Star From Hedge Fund Manager Accused Of Insider Trading Was By Bringing Him Illegal Info, Says UnderlingBy Bess Levin
Alternatively, if you made the mistake of approaching Todd Newman with information that was obtained through legitimate means, Jesse Tortora claims you’d be on the receiving end of a death stare the first time and a “What did I tell you about coming in here with a trade idea you ‘thoroughly researched’? Get the fuck out of my office and don’t ever waste my time with this garbage again,” on subsequent occasions. Read more »
Members Of Insider Trading “Club” Were Good At Obtaining Material Non-Public Information, Not So Good At Playing It Cool On Conversations Recorded By The FedsBy Bess Levin
Later this week, Anthony Chiasson, a Level Global co-founder, and Todd Newman, a former Diamondback portfolio manager, will go to trial in Federal Court for allegedly making $67 million in ill-gotten gains, based on inside information they obtained about Nvidia Corp and Dell Inc. According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Chiasson and Newman, who’ve both pleaded not guilty, were able to rack up all their profits by teaming up with a bunch of friends and forming an insider trading club, which is a lot like a book club or fight club in that they took roll, traded canapé duties, and drank Pinot Grigio, but different in that instead of discussing The Art Of Fielding or punching each other in the face, they spent every Monday night from 7 to 9 sharing material non-public information with each other.
“This case describes a tight-knit circle of greed on the part of professionals willing to traffic in confidential information,” Bharara said when the charges were announced in January. “It was a circle of friends who essentially formed a criminal club, whose purpose was profit and whose members regularly bartered inside information.”
In the beginning, when the club was first formed, there was a spirit of camaraderie, as the members happily traded tips for everyone’s mutual benefit. Unfortunately, things started to break down when some people agreed to cooperate with the government by recording their friends admitting wrongdoing in exchange for leniency. Former Diamondback analyst Jesse Tortora, for instance, attempted to incriminate fellow club member Danny Kuo on a call the FBI directed him to make on December 1, 2010, a conversation that Chiasson and Newman’s lawyers are now trying to use as evidence that Tortora, who will be testifying against them lacks credibility, based on the fact that when asked by Kuo if his phone was being tapped, Tortora didn’t say “Yup! Helping the Feds build a case against you, actually.” Instead he went with this:
“What’s happening, man?” Tortora asked during the call, according to a transcript prosecutors submitted to the court.
“Dude, is your phone tapped?” Kuo replied.
“Wait, is the phone tapped?” Tortora asked, adding, “Why do you ask that?”
Diamondback’s founders, Richard Schimel and Larry Sapanski, said Monday in a letter to clients that the investment firm’s external lawyers had conducted an “extensive review” of trading records and communications. As part of the review, lawyers with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP sifted through millions of emails and instant messages, analyzed thousands of trades, and made eight presentations to federal authorities regarding their findings between December 2010 and this month, according to a person familiar with the matter. The review “found no evidence establishing improper trading by any other Diamondback employee,” Mr. Schimel and Mr. Sapanski said in the letter, [announcing its $9 million settlement with the SEC]. [WSJ]
The $1 billion dollar figure was tallied up prior to today’s 5PM deadline to withdraw, so it may be higher. On the bright side, it could’ve been worse, but preventative measures- ‘around 29% of its $5.8 billion in capital is in multi-year lock-ups’- were in place. [WSJ]