Let me tick off some dates for you:
What sort of got lost in the shuffle was that Stewart's illegal sales helped her avoid about $46,000 in losses. Not millions in losses. And not millions in profits. Just a measly five-figures in avoided losses. Nonetheless, the dollars were not the point. Wrong is wrong and illegal conduct is illegal conduct. Or so we're told that's the way the regulation of Wall Street is supposed to go.
Now, let me tick off a more recent insider trading case.
In May 2010, long after Wall Street crashed and burned, long after Madoff, long after far too many bungled regulatory investigations, and long after Martha Stewart was released from prison, the SEC announces the conclusion of another high-profile insider trading case against Pequot Capital and its CEO Arthur Samberg. Just like with Stewart, the alleged insider trading happened in 2001. Unlike Stewart's avoidance of a $46,000 loss, Pequot/Samberg realized about a $14 million gain. Unlike the government's juggernaut prosecution of Stewart, Samberg (and his firm) got to write out a check for $28 million and he agreed to cease future association with any investment adviser.
So tell me, if Stewart's trading took place in December 2001 and Pequot/Samberg's trading took place eight months earlier in April 2001 -- why was Stewart at trial by 2004 but Pequot/Samberg's case is first resolving in 2010? And given that the fact patterns seem quite similar, why didn't Stewart just get to write out a fat settlement check instead of going to jail? Ain't progress grand?
I mean, seriously, how do you reconcile the two cases in this day and age?
To read the two SEC releases, visit: http://www.brokeandbroker.com/index.php?a=blog&id=432
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