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Key events leading to SAC Capital's $1.8B penalty

the Associated Press

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara speaks at a press conference, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in New York. Federal prosecutors in New York say hedge fund giant SAC Capital Advisors has agreed to plead guilty to fraud charges and to pay a $1.8 billion financial penalty. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

SAC Capital Advisors, one of the biggest and most successful hedge funds, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal fraud charges, stop investing money for others and pay $1.8 billion in a deal with U.S. prosecutors who had accused it of engaging in insider trading on an epic scale.

The government says it's the largest financial penalty in history for insider trading.

Key developments leading to the agreement:

— November 2010: The FBI issues subpoenas to SAC Capital and several other prominent hedge funds as part of a broad investigation.

— February 2011: Noah Freeman, a former SAC portfolio manager, pleads guilty to criminal charges.

—April 2011: Donald Longueuil, another ex-SAC portfolio manager, pleads guilty.

—From 2011 to 2013, a total of eight former SAC employees have been criminally charged. Six of them have pleaded guilty.

— May 2011: The office of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, confirms that the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating about 20 instances of suspicious trading by SAC.

— November 2012: The Securities and Exchange Commission files civil insider-trading charges against two SAC funds and SAC itself.

— December 2012: Former SAC portfolio manager Mathew Martoma is criminally charged with insider trading.

—January 2013: Martoma pleads not guilty.

—March 2013: The SEC announces a $615 million settlement with the two SAC funds and SAC, the biggest insider-trading settlement in the agency's 80-year history.

— July 19: The SEC brings a civil action against SAC founder and head Steven A. Cohen, accusing him of failing to prevent insider trading at the company. The agency seeks to fine Cohen and to bar him from managing any investor funds.

— July 25: Federal prosecutors in Manhattan unseal a criminal indictment against SAC that portrays it as a hotbed of insider trading. Over more than a decade, SAC illegally reaped hundreds of millions of dollars as its portfolio managers traded on confidential information from at least 20 public companies, prosecutors say.

—July 26: SAC enters a "not guilty" plea.

—Nov. 4: SAC agrees to plead guilty to criminal fraud charges, stop investing money for others and pay $1.8 billion in a deal with federal prosecutors.