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SAC executive guilty

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A top executive at SAC, the Stamford-based hedge fund owned by billionaire Steven A. Cohen, was convicted of insider trading Wednesday.

After two days of deliberation, a federal jury in Manhattan found Michael Steinberg guilty of trading on illegal tips involving technology stocks.

Steinberg is the highest-ranking company worker to face a guilty verdict of the eight so far accused or convicted of insider trading in the years-long federal inquiry.

Steinberg faces years – perhaps decades – in prison. He appeared to faint as the jury prepared to deliver its verdict, according to several witnesses.

“Like many other traders before him who, blinded by profits, lost their sense of right and wrong, Steinberg now stands convicted of federal crimes and faces the prospect of losing his liberty,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

SAC had issued no comment as of midmorning Thursday, a day after the conviction.

The jury found Steinberg guilty of five counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.

In November, SAC agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle charges it tolerated insider trading.

As part of that deal, the firm agreed to stop managing the money of outside investors, but it can continue to manage Cohen’s fortune, said to remain in the multibillions. The government has not accused Cohen of criminal wrong-doing.

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