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A former Morgan Stanley <MS.N> lawyer and her attorney husband pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy and securities fraud in what U.S. authorities have called the most pervasive insider trading ring since the 1980s that netted more than $15 million in illegal profits. Randi Collotta, 30, and Christopher Collotta, 34, admitted to Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan Federal Court that they made $9,000 through one of the schemes in the Wall Street insider trading case that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars to various parties between September 2004 and August 2005.

Randi Collotta, who worked for Morgan Stanley's compliance division in New York, admitted to giving information about upcoming mergers and acquisitions to her husband, who is in private practice.

Christopher Collotta told the court he shared some of the insider information with Florida broker Marc Jurman, who agreed to share part of his profits with the Collottas and also passed the information along to others.

The couple sat at opposite ends of a long table at the hearing, flanked by their lawyers and occasionally glancing at each other. Randi Collotta wept softly as she read a statement admitting her guilt.

"Randi Collotta accepted responsibility for what she did, and today she took a significant step in putting this behind her," her lawyer Kenneth Breen said after the hearing.

The Bayport, New York couple were among 13 people charged criminally in March with participating in the scheme. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed separate, civil charges against 11 people, including the Collottas.

Six of the 13 defendants, including Jurman, have pleaded guilty.

Christopher Collotta's lawyers released a statement after the hearing saying, "Mr. Collotta recognizes that these are serious offenses, deeply regrets his actions in participating in these offenses, and realizes that he will have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life."

Both defendants agreed to forfeit $9,000 in profits they made through the scheme. Randi Collotta agreed not to appeal a sentence of 18 months or less in prison, while her husband agreed not to appeal a sentence of 16 months or less, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Fish said. Both face a maximum 25 year prison term.

The couple were released until sentencing, scheduled for Sept. 7. They have been free on $250,000 bond each.


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