steven cohen insider trading

Steven Cohen Insider Trading Scandal: Investigation Into Survival


The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal has been an ongoing issue since 2013, and it has recently seen renewed attention. Steven Cohen, the billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of SAC Capital Advisors, was accused of using inside information to purchase securities for personal gain. Despite the charges, Cohen has managed to survive the investigation and continue his career in finance. In this blog post, we will explore the details of the Steven Cohen insider trading scandal, the subsequent investigation, and how Cohen has been able to survive it all.

Steven Cohen Insider Trading Scandal

The Steven Cohen Insider Trading Scandal was one of the most notorious financial scandals of the 21st century. The scandal involved Steven Cohen’s insider trading in 2008. Cohen and his firm were accused of making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits and avoiding losses by using material non-public information to inform their trading decisions.

The investigation into SAC Capital Advisors and its alleged insider trading activities began in late 2007. It continued for several years, culminating in the U.S. Justice Department filing criminal charges against the firm in 2013. Cohen was charged with multiple counts of securities fraud and failing to supervise his dealers, suggesting he was the instigator.

steven cohen insider trading

Illegal Short-Selling 

The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal involved illegal short-selling activities. Investor and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen hired SAC Capital Advisors to conduct the study at his request. U.S. authorities found evidence that Cohen engaged in insider trading between 2009 and 2013. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed civil charges against him in 2013.

The scandal involved Cohen and his firm illegally using insider information to make profitable trades in the stock market. This allowed Cohen to make profitable trades based on information that was not available to the general public.

Cohen was charged with insider trading as well as illegal short selling. This is a form of stock trading where a trader sells shares they do not own in the hopes of buying them back at a lower price and then making a profit.

Cohen was arrested and charged with five charges of securities fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail. He agreed to a plea deal in January 2018. Served two years in prison and paid a $1.8 million fine.

The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal highlighted the risks of illegal short-selling. And the need for stringent regulations to protect investors. It also sheds light on the importance of ethical business practices. And the need for tougher penalties for those who break the law.

Insider Trading

The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal was a major financial scandal that began in 2013 and lasted until 2019. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that Cohen had engaged in insider trading between 2007 and 2013 and had failed to properly supervise employees who had access to material nonpublic information. The SEC also alleged that Cohen had failed to prevent the misuse of such information. The case against Cohen was long and complex, involving the SEC, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, and a grand jury.

However, he agreed to pay $1.8 billion in penalties and disgorgement, including $900 million to the SEC and $900 million to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The case against Cohen has been a major milestone in the fight against insider trading. It has also served as a reminder to corporations and financial institutions that they must comply with securities laws. It ensures that their employees do not misuse material nonpublic information.

Backdating Options

In the late 2000s, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating Steven Cohen. The SEC alleged that Cohen and his firm had engaged in a number of illegal activities, including backdating options.

Backdating options involves the manipulation of stock option grant dates to take advantage of a lower stock price. By granting options with a date prior to the actual date, a company can increase the options’ value. It is because the exercise price is lower than the current market price. This practice is illegal and can result in civil and criminal penalties for those involved.

The SEC found that Cohen and SAC had used backdated options to their advantage. The backdating allowed them to make more money when their stock price went up. As they were able to purchase options at a lower price. The SEC also found that Cohen had failed to disclose the backdating or properly account for it in the company’s financial statements.

The insider trading scandal resulted in a number of fines and penalties for Cohen and SAC. It includes a $1.8 billion civil penalty. Cohen paid the SEC $1.2 million and agreed to a two-year ban from working in the securities sector.

Fraudulent Investment Advice 

In 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Cohen’s firm, SAC Capital Advisors, with insider trading and accused Cohen of failing to supervise employees who were trading on insider information. According to the SEC, Cohen’s employees were able to generate millions of dollars in illegal profits by trading on inside information obtained from various sources, including company insiders, analysts, and even family members.

At the heart of the scandal was the allegation that Cohen himself had participated in insider trading. The SEC alleged that Cohen had received non-public information about potential stock trades and had acted on it, making profitable trades before anyone else had access to the same information. Cohen denied these allegations, but was ultimately found liable for failing to supervise his employees and was ordered to pay over 1.8 billion dollars in fines and penalties.

The scandal also raised questions about the ethical standards of Wall Street and the use of insider information in trading. It revealed the risks of taking financial advice from insiders, who have the ability to artificially increase or decrease stock prices for their own benefit.

Illegal Campaign Contributions 

In 2013, Steven Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital Advisors, and his firm were charged with insider trading. As a result, Cohen was fined and banned from managing outside money for two years. At the same time, it was made public that Cohen had made illegal campaign contributions to a number of political candidates. 

The illegal contributions were made in the name of SAC Capital Advisors, or one of its subsidiaries. The contributions were made in order to gain political favors, such as favorable legislation or access to non-public information. This was a violation of campaign finance laws and the Federal Election Commission regulations. 

In addition to the fines imposed on Cohen and SAC Capital, the Securities and Exchange Commission also announced that it was imposing a $1.8 million civil penalty on Cohen.

It was also revealed that Cohen had used SAC Capital to make illegal campaign contributions to a number of political candidates. This included contributions to the campaigns of Senator Chuck Schumer, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

How did the scandal come to light?

The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal was first exposed in December 2016, when the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil enforcement action against Cohen’s hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors. The charges alleged that Cohen had violated federal securities laws by failing to prevent insider trading in certain stocks by his employees and associates.

At the heart of the case was a former SAC portfolio manager, Mathew Martoma, who had allegedly traded on inside information provided to him by a doctor working on clinical trials for two drug companies. Martoma was accused of passing the insider information on to Cohen, who in turn used it to make illegal trades that resulted in profits and avoided losses.

The SEC’s complaint against Cohen sparked an investigation into his activities by the Department of Justice in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. That includes one count of criminal securities fraud, four counts of making false statements to SEC investigators, and six counts of failure to supervise. Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty to all of the charges. It resulted in a $1.8 billion settlement with the SEC as well as additional sanctions from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

What are the investigations made of Steven Cohen in the insider trading scandal?

Allegations of Insider Trading

The primary focus of the investigation into Steven Cohen and his firm, Point72 Asset Management, is the alleged receipt and use of non-public, material information in connection with securities trading.

Regulatory Enforcement Actions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have taken enforcement actions against Cohen. Point72, and several of its employees in connection with the alleged insider trading. These enforcement actions have included fines, charges, and other penalties.

Civil Lawsuits 

In addition to the regulatory enforcement actions, Cohen and Point72 have faced a number of civil lawsuits from investors and others who claim to have been harmed by insider trading. The lawsuits allege a range of misconduct, including insider trading, fraud, and failure to supervise employees.

Denials of Wrongdoing

Despite the ongoing investigations and legal challenges, Cohen and Point72 have consistently denied any wrongdoing and have defended themselves against the allegations in court.

Implications for the Financial Industry

The outcome of the investigations and lawsuits involving Steven Cohen and Point72 will have significant implications for the financial industry, particularly with regard to insider trading and the responsibilities of hedge fund managers and their firms.

What happened next?

After the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened its investigation into Steven Cohen’s trading activities, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan initiated a parallel criminal investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s office subpoenaed testimony and documents from SAC Capital Advisors and several former employees of the firm. Among those targeted in the investigation were portfolio manager Mathew Martoma and analyst Sandy Winick, both of whom had worked closely with Cohen.

In early 2013, Martoma was arrested and charged with securities fraud and other charges related to his trading activities.

steven cohen insider trading

He was accused of using inside information to trade in the stocks of Elan Corporation and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. It results in more than $276 million in profits for the firm. In addition to criminal charges, the SEC sought to impose a financial penalty of over $600 million on SAC Capital Advisors. It would have been the largest fine ever imposed by the SEC on an investment firm. 

Ultimately, neither Martoma nor Cohen faced criminal charges in connection with the insider trading allegations. He also agreed to be barred from the securities industry for two years. Despite this significant penalty, Cohen has continued to be a successful investor.

What was the outcome of the investigation?

Consequently, Cohen and his hedge fund were hit with multiple charges after a prolonged investigation.Martoma was given a nine-year sentence in prison after being found guilty of illegally trading in two stocks.

The investigation resulted in a massive overhaul of Cohen’s business practices. He implemented a more rigorous compliance system and hired an independent compliance consultant. In addition, he reached a settlement with victims of the illegal operations for almost $400 million. Furthermore, he instituted several new policies and procedures to prevent similar activities from occurring in the future. 

The fallout from the investigation has been significant, as it has led to increased scrutiny of hedge funds and their managers. Nevertheless, while the SEC was able to bring charges against Cohen, they have not yet been able to hold him accountable for the actions of his employees. This has caused many to question the effectiveness of existing regulatory systems and their ability to ensure compliance. 

Despite the harsh punishment that Cohen received, the case has ultimately served as a cautionary tale for investors everywhere. It demonstrates the importance of taking extra precautions when making investment decisions and highlights the need for greater oversight within the financial sector.


The insider trading affair involving Steven Cohen was a significant event in the world of finance. It has brought attention to the business operations and ethical standards of hedge funds. The investigation, which was conducted by the SEC and the Department of Justice, culminated in SAC Capital Advisors pleading guilty and receiving a fine that set a new record. Point72 Asset Management, which is owned and operated by Steven Cohen, has emerged from the scandal unscathed and continues to have a strong position in the market. The verdict in the case serves as a timely reminder of the significance of upholding ethical standards in business practices and the repercussions of breaking laws governing securities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was the Steven Cohen insider trading scandal about?

The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal involved allegations of insider trading activities by SAC Capital Advisors, a hedge fund founded by Steven Cohen. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice launched an investigation into the firm.

2. What was the outcome of the investigation?

As a result of the investigation, SAC Capital Advisors pleaded guilty to securities fraud. They paid a record-breaking fine of $1.8 billion. In this case, the real Steven Cohen was not the subject of any accusations.

3. How has Point72 Asset Management, founded by Steven Cohen, been affected by the scandal?

Despite the scandal, Point72 Asset Management has continued to operate. It remains one of the largest and most successful hedge funds in the industry. However, the investigation raised questions about the management practices and ethics of the firm.

4. What does the outcome of the case suggest about the importance of ethical business practices?

The outcome of the case serves as a reminder of the importance of ethical business practices and the consequences of violating securities laws. It highlights the need for companies and individuals to act with integrity and transparency in their financial dealings.

5. What was the significance of the Steven Cohen insider trading scandal?

The Steven Cohen insider trading scandal was a significant event in the financial world. That drew attention to the practices and ethics of hedge funds. It raised questions about the role of hedge funds in the financial industry and the accountability of their managers.

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