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.

Harrington said she heard talk of trades placed at 9 p.m. and she realized immediately after her 2001 hire that the hedge fund, Canary Capital, was participating in the illegal trades. Canary has since settled with regulators for $40 million. Harrington left the Hartz Group in 2002.

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