Mathew Martoma got off to a slow start in the hedge-fund world.
A former student at Harvard Law School, he co-wrote papers on medical ethics before seeking a business degree at Stanford University and joining a little-known Boston hedge fund. Former colleagues say he was nondescript, and other hedge-fund managers never heard of him.
Bloomberg reports that yet in 2006, at age 32, Martoma made it to SAC Capital Advisors LP and gained the attention of the firm’s billionaire owner Steven A. Cohen. Cohen, one of the most successful hedge-fund managers in the world, trusted Martoma’s recommendations enough to accumulate about $700 million in shares of Elan Corp and Wyeth LLC two years later and then sell them all within a week after Martoma had changed his view on the companies.
Those recommendations, which earned the young portfolio manager a $9.38m bonus, have now landed Martoma at the center of what U.S. prosecutors describe as the most-lucrative insider-trading scheme they’ve ever uncovered, with profits and averted losses of $276m. Early in the morning of November 20th, FBI agents arrested the 38-year-old at his Boca Raton home. The charges against him mark the first time prosecutors said Cohen had talked with a defendant about stocks in an insider-trading case, pulling the art collector deeper into one of the biggest investigations of securities fraud in history.
'Mathew Martoma was an exceptional portfolio manager who succeeded through hard work and the dogged pursuit of information in the public domain', his lawyer Charles Stillman said in an e-mailed statement, adding that he expected Martoma to be fully exonerated.
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