Jon Horvath


Lena Dunham said the group of young and cash-strapped creative women she leads on “Girls” could get a whiff of Wall Street scandal. The plot idea came on the red carpet inNew York last night, when Dunham learned that her character, Hannah Horvath, shares a surname with Jon Horvath, the former technology analyst at a unit of Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors LP who passed illegal tips to his portfolio manager. Dunham said the overlap was a coincidence, and that alliteration was her focus when she named the female characters. Yet she didn’t rule out weaving a reference to the financier into the show, whose third season starts on Jan. 12. [Bloomberg]

Horvath took home a relative pittance of $416,084 of compensation in 2007, compared with Steinberg’s $5.1 million. He rang in the New Year vowing to do better. He cultivated a relationship with Jesse Tortora, an analyst at a hedge fund called Diamondback Capital, whom he’d met through a former roommate in San Francisco. Tortora was well connected and started funneling him inside information about Dell, which, Horvath later testified, he passed up to Steinberg. [BusinessWeek / Sheelah Kolhatkar]

Earlier in the day, before Mr. Berke began his cross-examination, Mr. Horvath testified that after Diamondback and two other hedge funds were raided by federal authorities in fall 2010, Mr. Steinberg coached him about how to talk to the Federal Bureau of Investigation if approached by any agents. Mr. Horvath said his former boss told him if the F.B.I. asks about the kind of information Mr. Tortora provided on Dell, just say it was “O.K.” Mr. Horvath said Mr. Steinberg flew to a conference he was attending in Arizona to personally deliver that message. “He just walked straight up to me,” Mr. Horvath said, adding that his then boss didn’t even say hello before bringing up the F.B.I. [Dealbook]

One hopes “black edge” wasn’t on the list. Anyway today’s indictment against SAC, for wire fraud and securities fraud, is a hoot:

For example, on or about July 29, 2009, a recently hired SAC PM (the “New PM”) sent an instant message to [Steve Cohen] and relayed that, due to some “recent research,” the New PM planned to short Nokia when he started work 10 days later. The New PM apologized for being “cryptic” but noted that the head of SAC compliance “was giving me Rules 101 yesterday – so I won’t be saying much[.] [T]oo scary.”

Possibly the weirdest part here is that new hires got compliance lectures two weeks before they showed up at the firm? But maybe not; the DOJ takes a pretty dim view of SAC’s hiring process generally, and if you believe the DOJ that SAC’s main hiring criterion was “is good at insider trading” then you could imagine the need for a little pre-start-date warning about email etiquette: Read more »

SAC Can’t Even Put Ten Days Of Insider Trading Behind It

Once upon a time there was a settlement between the SEC and Citigroup over some bad stuff that Citi did, or maybe did, since the settlement did not require Citi to admit any guilt. But then the judge overseeing the case, Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York, bravely stood up and said: No, this settlement is Not Right, in small part because of that not-admitting-guilt thing.1 And lo he was a hero throughout the land, except in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which will likely reverse him.

I’m sure Judge Rakoff’s colleague Victor Marrero didn’t hold up SAC Capital’s proposed settlement with the SEC last week with the express goal of getting financial bloggers to say on Twitter that “Victor Marrero is the new Jed Rakoff,” but … kind of, right?

Here you can read the New Yorker‘s John Cassidy getting all exercised about the settlement, saying that “To his credit, Judge Marrero has, at least for now, refused to go along with this travesty.” I guess a lot of people don’t like this not admitting or denying thing that’s all the rage in SEC settlements these days (and, to be fair, always). But there’s an important difference between the two cases; Judge Rakoff had a reason for rejecting the Citi settlement, and Judge Marrero doesn’t particularly seem to have a reason for rejecting the SAC one.2 Read more »

Hope this clears things up. Read more »

SAC Capital Advisors LP, the hedge fund run by Steven A. Cohen, put portfolio manager Michael Steinberg on leave after he emerged as an unindicted co- conspirator in a $62 million insider-trading scheme, according to two people familiar with the matter…Steinberg, who worked at SAC Capital’s Sigma Capital Management unit, is the fifth person to be tied to the U.S. government’s insider-trading investigation while employed at the firm. He has been linked in court documents to the securities- fraud case of Jon Horvath, a former SAC Capital technology analyst that he supervised. Horvath told a federal judge in New York during his Sept. 28 plea that he was part of a group of analysts who passed nonpublic information to each other…SAC Capital said in a statement last week that it gave Horvath “the benefit of the presumption of innocence” and that it was “disappointed and angered” to learn that he admittedly violated the law and SAC Capital’s policies forbidding insider trading. [Bloomberg]