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Ex-hedge fund trader charged in $276M insider ploy

Associated Press Modified: November 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm •  Published: November 20, 2012

The SEC complaint said that Martoma carried out the scheme with Gilman, an 80-year-old professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School who served as chairman of a safety committee overseeing the clinical trial. Gilman was selected by Elan and Wyeth to present the final clinical trial results at a July 29, 2008, medical conference.

Messages left with the University of Michigan Medical School were not immediately returned.

Gilman's lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said his client is cooperating with the SEC and the U.S. Attorney's Office, and has entered into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors.

A copy of the agreement released by federal prosecutors Tuesday showed that Gilman will forfeit nearly $187,000 that he received from Elan for consulting work in 2007 and 2008 and from an expert networking firm for consultations between 2006 and 2009 with Martoma's hedge fund.

Bharara said Martoma gained from "cultivating and corrupting" Gilman, eventually receiving $9 million in bonus pay for the year when the trades were made.

Martoma met with the doctor about 42 times, beginning in the summer of 2006, and eventually convinced him to start talking about the drug trial, prosecutors said.

The SEC said leaks by Martoma caused hedge fund portfolios managed by CR Intrinsic and by an affiliated investment adviser to liquidate more than $700 million in holdings in Elan and Wyeth.

The massive repositioning, the SEC said, allowed CR Intrinsic and various hedge funds to reap huge illicit profits and avoid steep losses.

"By cultivating and corrupting a doctor with access to secret drug data, Mathew Martoma and his hedge fund benefited from what might be the most lucrative inside tip of all time," Bharara said.

The prosecutor said the doctor sent him a draft of the 24-page presentation he planned to make at a conference announcing the results.

That is when Martoma "had to do a spectacular about-face because he understood that — with these negative results looming — the hedge fund's massive $700 million stake had become a terrible bet," Bharara said. "And so, just like that, overnight, Martoma went from bull to bear as he tried to dig his hedge fund out of a massive hole."

The news caused Elan's stock price to plunge by more than 40 percent. The price of Wyeth fell about 12 percent.

The bets against the drug developers brought additional profits totaling $76.2 million. That is roughly the same amount that prosecutors said former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam made in illegal profits before he was arrested. The one-time billionaire is serving an 11-year prison sentence in what was once considered the biggest insider trading case in U.S. history.

A year later, a hedge fund employee recommended that Martoma be terminated, and he was let go in 2010, Bharara said.


AP Business Writer Daniel Wagner in Washington contributed to this report.