Noreen Harrington, a former executive of the Stern Asset Management arm of the Hartz Group, identified herself as the initial whistleblower in the mutual fund scandal that has ravaged the industry, according to reports.

Harrington, who phoned in the tip last May, said she overheard hedge fund traders boasting about how they were allowed to trade in and out of funds well after the market closed. The hedge fund money they were managing, she said, came from accounts started up by Edward J. Stern.

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