NEW YORK — Federal authorities announced a raft of criminal charges Thursday against SAC Capital, the hedge fund run by the billionaire Steven A. Cohen, an unusually aggressive move that could cripple one of Wall Street’s most successful stock trading firms.
In the 41-page indictment, which includes four counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud, prosecutors charged SAC and its units with permitting a “systematic” insider trading scheme to unfold between 1999 and 2010, activity that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for the firm. The case seeks to attribute criminal acts of several employees to the company itself, claiming that the fund “enabled and promoted” the illicit behavior.
“When so many people from a single hedge fund have engaged in insider trading, it is not a coincidence,” Preet Bharara, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said at a news conference Thursday.
In a statement, an SAC spokesman argued that “The handful of men who admit they broke the law does not reflect the honesty, integrity and character of the thousands of men and women who have worked at SAC over the past 21 years.”