THE FIRST EXPERT NETWORK INSIDER TRADING TRIAL: GUILTY
Blue collar tactics continue to yield results for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney. This time taped conversations from other conspirators help convict Winifred Jiau, formerly a consultant for expert networking firm Primary Global Research LLC. A jury found Ms. Jiau guilty of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud and securities fraud. This is the first case from the expert networking investigation to go to trial. U.S. v. Jiau, 11-cr-00161 (S.D.N.Y.). Ms. Jiau is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21, 2011.
From 2006 through 2008 Ms. Jiau obtained inside information and furnished it to hedge fund managers who were clients of Primary Global, according to the superseding indictment. During that period she passed inside information about the up coming earnings releases of NVIDIA Corporation and Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. to network clients. She was paid about $200,000.
Samir Barai, the founder and manager of Barai Capital, and Noah Freeman, formerly a portfolio manager at SAC Capital, obtained earnings information about Marvel and NVIDIA from Ms. Jiau. Conversations with these two hedge fund managers were taped. During the conversations Ms. Jiau made it clear, for example, that the information about Marvel came from an employee of the company. Based on this information Mr. Barai’s fund traded, netting profits of about $820,000.
The inside information about NVIDIA also came from a company employee. In this case analyst Sonny Nguyen, who is a friend of Ms. Jiau, furnished it. Mr. Nguyen testified at the trial. The information about both companies furnished by Ms. Jiau was accurate.
Previously, Mr. Nguyen pleaded guilty. He is cooperating with the government. Messrs. Barai and Freeman have also pleaded guilty. In addition, Donald Longueuil, a former SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager has pleaded guilty in connection with this investigation. James Fleishman, charged as part of the same inquiry is scheduled to go to trial later this year.
This is the third prominent insider trading trial in Manhattan this year to end with a guilty verdict. Post trial interviews with jurors suggest that they viewed the evidence as being very strong, according to Bloomberg.