NEW YORK — A Portland research analyst who waged a harassment campaign against the government officials investigating him for insider trading was sentenced Tuesday to four years and three months in prison.
John Kinnucan, who ran Broadband Research, appeared in U.S. District Court in Manhattan before Judge Deborah Batts, who also ordered him to forfeit $164,000 in illegal profits.
Kinnucan pleaded guilty in July to leaking secret information about technology companies to hedge funds. On Tuesday, the once-combative Kinnucan expressed remorse: “I’d just like to say I’m sorry to everyone involved for all the trouble I’ve caused.”
The case against Kinnucan has been among the more bizarre strands of the government’s broad crackdown on criminal activity at hedge funds. Kinnucan’s name first emerged in October 2010 when The Wall Street Journal reported the FBI tried to persuade him to secretly record telephone calls with his clients, including SAC Capital Advisors. He rebuffed their request and boasted about his recalcitrance in an email to his hedge-fund customers.
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Kinnucan then went on something of a publicity campaign, appearing on CNBC and writing a commentary for The New York Times, “Why I Chose Not to Wear a Wire.”
But as the investigation wore on, Kinnucan ’grew more belligerent. He made nearly 25 threatening calls to FBI agents and prosecutors, many of them laced with references to sexual and other forms of violence, the government says.
“Too bad Hitler’s not around,” Kinnucan said in one voice-mail message left for a prosecutor. “He’d know what to do with you. You should be in a gas chamber.”
The government charged Kinnucan in February with leaking secret information about technology stocks to his hedge-fund clients.
In his guilty plea, he admitted to sharing with customers confidential data about companies including SanDisk, Flextronics and Seattle’s F5 Networks.
Prosecutors said Kinnucan built a deep network of sources by paying them cash and giving them illegal tips.
“Today’s sentence of John Kinnucan is a fitting conclusion to a criminal odyssey that began with the buying and selling of inside information and evolved into a vile and very public campaign to threaten public servants and obstruct the federal investigation,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. “Mr. Kinnucan will now pay for both crimes with his liberty.”