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Former SEC employee sentenced to home confinement

A former specialist in the enforcement division of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission was sentenced Wednesday to 9 months home confinement for stealing government secrets, officials said.

The sentencing of Michael Cohn, 61, of Norwalk, Conn., in federal court in Central Islip was the first such in-person procedure since judges Monday were given limited discretion to hold hearings in courtrooms instead of by video or telephone conferencing due the coronavirus pandemic.

Cohn was also sentenced to 1 year of supervised release and a fine of $50,000. He had been facing 6 months in jail.

Cohn, a former compliance examiner and industry specialist in the SEC’s enforcement division, pleaded guilty in September to accessing confidential information concerning a government investigation into an investment firm with which he was interested in getting a job.

Cohn eventually got the $400,000-a-year job as managing director and chief compliance officer of the firm, GBP Capitlal Holdings, which has offices in Manhattan and Garden City.

"I am deeply regretful of the actions I took. … I have lost my reputation for integrity. … My behavior was an extreme aberration," Cohn told U.S. District Judge Gary Brown before he was sentenced.

In imposing the sentence, Brown said he was balancing Cohn’s "reprehensible betrayal of the public trust" with his otherwise honorable life history.

Cohn had originally been charged with obstruction of justice, unauthorized computer access and unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

A spokeswoman for GPB at the time of Cohn’s plea said Cohn "was with GPB for less than a year and GPB had no involvement with or knowledge of his wrongdoing."

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