The Dell Insider Trading Cases

Anthony Chiasson, the co-founder of hedge fund Level Global Investors, was sentenced on insider trading charges this week to serve 78 months in prison. U.S. v. Newman, 1-12-cr-00121 (S.D.N.Y.). Mr. Chiasson was convicted along with co-defendant Todd Newman, a portfolio manager at Diamondback Capital Management LLC, by a jury last December. Mr. Newman has been sentenced to serve 54 months in prison.

The cases some called the Dell insider trading cases, centered on a ring which gathered inside information from company employees at Dell Inc. and NVIDIA Corporation. Mr. Chaisson’s research analyst, Sam Adondakis, along with Jesse Tortora, Jon Horvath and Danny Kuo, who were research analysts at other firms, obtained and exchanged the information. It was then furnished to the portfolio managers at their respective firms who traded.

In 2008 and 2009 Mr. Chiasson received inside information from Mr. Adondakis related to Dell’s quarterly earnings. The information traced to Mr. Newman’s analyst, Jesse Tortora and Sandy Goyal, another analyst, and ultimately to a Dell employee. Mr. Chiasson received inside information regarding the May and August 2008 Dell earnings announcements. In each instance he caused Level Global to trade, reaping profits of about $58.5 million. Documents were created in an effort to conceal the predicate for the trades.

In 2009 Mr. Chiasson obtained inside information regarding the earnings of NVIDIA from Mr. Adonkaakis. He in turn had obtained the information from analyst Danny Kuo who worked for another investment firm. The information related to an up coming May 2009 earnings release. As a result of the trades Level Global had trading profits of about $10 million.

Messrs. Horvath and Kuo each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud last year. Messrs. Tortora and Adondakis each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. All four men are awaiting sentencing. The SEC has a parallel case pending. SEC v. Adondakis, Civil Action No. (S12-cv-0409 (S.D.N.Y.).

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