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U.S. names alleged co-conspirators in insider case of SAC's Steinberg

Michael Steinberg leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Keith Bedford
Michael Steinberg leaves Manhattan Federal Court in New York March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

(Reuters) - Two months ahead a scheduled criminal trial against Michael Steinberg, a trader at Steven A. Cohen's hedge fund firm SAC Capital Advisors LP, federal prosecutors have named 15 other alleged co-conspirators related to his insider trading case.

The U.S. Department of Justice provided the names in a so-called "bill of particulars" that also identified stocks about which Steinberg and other co-conspirators had allegedly provided or received material nonpublic information.

Many of the names and 14 companies have appeared in recent U.S. insider trading cases. These include the case against Jon Horvath, a former Steinberg colleague at SAC who has admitted to insider trading and is cooperating with the government.

Among the other names is Lacey Higgins, who supposedly received confidential information about Intel Corp from 2006 to 2009. A person with that name is identified in a LinkedIn profile as a supply demand analyst at Intel.

The government said another alleged co-conspirator, Mark Lipacis, along with Higgins passed the Intel information to former Diamondback Capital Management analyst Jesse Tortora and former Level Global Investors analyst Spyridon "Sam" Adondakis.

A person named Mark Lipacis now works at Jefferies & Co in San Francisco, and previously worked in that city at Morgan Stanley and Prudential Equity Group, regulatory records show.

Tortora and Adondakis have pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors in their broad probe of insider trading in hedge funds, known as "Operation Perfect Hedge."

A Jefferies spokesman declined to comment. An Intel spokesman had no immediate comment. Efforts to reach Higgins and Lipacis were unsuccessful. Barry Berke, a lawyer for Steinberg, was not immediately available for comment.

Steinberg faces a November 18 trial after pleading not guilty in March to four counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy for alleged insider trading in computer company Dell Inc and chipmaker Nvidia Corp in 2008 and 2009.

An insider trading trial against another SAC trader, Mathew Martoma, is scheduled to begin on November 4.

Prosecutors charged SAC itself, though not Cohen, with insider trading crimes in July, saying it harbored a culture where employees flouted the law and were encouraged to tap their contacts for inside information about publicly traded companies.

SAC has pleaded not guilty.

The case is U.S. v. Steinberg, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-cr-00121.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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