NEW YORK, JUNE 15 -- Martin A. Siegel, who allegedly took suitcases filled with cash from Ivan F. Boesky in exchange for inside information, was sentenced today to two months in prison.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Ward cited Siegel's contrition and cooperation with prosecutors in giving him one of the shortest prison terms meted out in Wall Street's insider trading scandals.

Siegel, a mergers specialist for the investment firms Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. and Kidder, Peabody & Co., was one of the first Wall Street figures to cooperate with prosecutors after being implicated by stock speculator Boesky.

Boesky, in recent testimony in another case, said he gave Siegel suitcases of cash for inside information on takeover attempts. Siegel has admitted swapping stock tips with former Goldman, Sachs & Co. trader Robert Freeman.

"Over the last 3 1/2 years, I have tried to do everything in my power to make up for these mistakes," Siegel said in a statement to the court. He tearfully pleaded guilty in February 1987 to tax evasion and conspiracy to violate securities laws.

Besides the prison time, Siegel was sentenced to five years probation during which he must perform 3,000 hours of community service. He was not fined. Siegel previously agreed to give up more than $9 million in cash and assets to settle civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ward chided Siegel for his conduct, saying, "In short, there is no excuse for what he did. ... What we have here, we've seen far too many times before in the financial community."

Siegel's cooperation led to the controversial insider trading cases against Richard B. Wigton and Timothy L. Tabor, two of Siegel's associates at Kidder, Peabody, and Freeman, formerly head of arbitrage at Goldman, Sachs.

The 1987 arrests of the three traders, one being led from his office in handcuffs, stunned the financial community and led to widespread predictions that more Wall Street professionals would be implicated in the scandal.

The government alleged Freeman made profitable stock deals on inside information about takeover attempts supplied by Siegel, and that Wigton and Tabor made trading decisions using the tips from Freeman.

The case eventually was dropped when the government said it needed more time to gather evidence. But last year, after more than two years of investigations, prosecutors announced they would bring no charges against Wigton and Tabor.

Freeman agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and admitted he received inside information in January 1986 from Siegel and used the tip to execute various trades. He was sentenced in April to four months in prison and fined $1 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Cartusciello recommended that Siegel receive a lesser sentence because he cooperated and Freeman did not. While at first saying Siegel should be "terribly ashamed" for what he had done, the prosecutor went on to praise his "thorough and open" cooperation.

Cartusciello said almost all the information supplied by Siegel was corroborated independently. The prosecutor said Siegel's testimony against Freeman was especially important because the type of scheme they carried out was rarely detected by employers or investigators.

The terms of Siegel's probation require he perform 2,400 hours of community service at a college in Jacksonville, Fla., where he lives, and another 600 hours of community service unrelated to his financial skills.

Siegel was to surrender at a yet unspecified facility sometime before July 15.