Leon Cooperman, a Major Jewish Philanthropist, Charged With Insider Trading

SEC charges Leon Cooperman and his firm Omega Advisers over deals involving Atlas Pipeline Partners.

Leon Cooperman, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Omega Advisors Inc., speaks during the 20th Annual Sohn Investment Conference in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 4, 2015. Bloomberg

Billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman and his firm Omega Advisers have been charged with insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Cooperman, 73, was the first to provide Birthright Israel, a program that sends delegations of Jewish youths on trips to Israel to strengthen their Jewish identity, with an endowment. 

Cooperman and his wife Toby are major philanthropists, to Jewish and non-Jewish causes, through their Cooperman Family Fund. He has given large sums to a number of universities, including his alma maters Columbia Business School and Hunter College, as well as hospitals. He has also given to Jewish day schools in New Jersey.

“We are very proud of our religion, our heritage, the many accomplishments of the Jewish people, and the enormous contribution they make to society,” Cooperman told the New Jersey Jewish News in 2010. “But we are very concerned about the pace of assimilation and really the disappearance of the Jewish religion.

Cooperman and his wife have also signed the "Giving Pledge" campaign, started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, in which very wealthy people commit themselves to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. 

Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $3.1 billion this year, making him the 527th richest person in the world according to their rankings. 

The SEC charged Cooperman and Omega Advisors made significant illegal profits by using non-public information to make trades in 2010. Cooperman's trading involved purchasing securities in Atlas Pipeline Partners, the SEC said.

"In addition to his unlawful insider trading, Cooperman repeatedly violated the federal securities laws by failing to timely report information about holdings and transactions in securities of publicly-traded companies that he beneficially owned," said the SEC.