NY judge says he's impressed by key role cooperator played in historic insider trading case

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A New York judge who came to court determined to send a Massachusetts hedge fund co-founder to prison for insider trading changed his mind after a prosecutor described his key role in a historic prosecution.

Federal Judge Sidney Stein instead ordered Steven Fortuna of Westwood, Mass., to serve six months home confinement. Stein said Wednesday a prison sentence was appropriate and even necessary until he heard a prosecutor describe the extent of 50-year-old Fortuna's cooperation in what prosecutors once called the biggest insider trading case in history.

The judge noted that Fortuna's cooperation helped the government convict a close friend of a corrupt billionaire hedge fund founder and a former top Intel Corp. executive. Both were sentenced to prison terms. More than two dozen people were convicted in the prosecution.