Level Global Hedge Fund Co-Founder Sentenced to Prison

Level Global Investors hedge fund co-founder Anthony Chiasson has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for insider trading. The judge presiding over the case commented that he was perplexed that Chiasson would engage in securities fraud, noting Chiasson's wealth and annual compensation that reached as high as $23 million. But given the recent massive frauds committed by Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford, and the insider trading committed by a number of other well-paid, but now convicted hedge fund analysts and traders, it should come as no surprise that greed causes people to act irrationally, stupidly, and illegally.

Chiasson, who is said to have generated more than $68 million in illegal profits, including $53 million on shares of Dell, also was ordered to pay a $5 million fine.

Although Chiasson reportedly plans to appeal his conviction, unless the appellate court grants him bail, Chiasson will have to report to prison in 90 days. Chiasson's sentencing is the result federal prosecutors' and regulators' recent crackdown on insider trading. Since August 2009, they have secured 73 guilty pleas or convictions from the 81 people charged.

That he was a target of an insider trading probe is not particularly surprising. Chiasson formerly worked for famed hedge fund SAC Capital, which itself has been the subject of a number of insider trading probes. Presumably, Chiasson did not learn the "business" of insider trading the day after he left SAC to start his Level Global hedge fund in 2003.

In a related matter, Level Global agreed to pay more than $21.5 million to resolve claims brought by the SEC related to the trades.

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