Insider trading: Feds score another win

@CNNMoney June 20, 2011: 3:52 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Winfred Jiau, a former expert-network consultant, was found guilty Monday of insider trading in another victory for federal prosecutors.

The conviction is the latest development in an ongoing investigation into insider trading by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan, which has resulted in over 40 convictions of hedge fund managers and others since August 2009.

Prosecutors said Jiau, 43, obtained inside information on publicly traded companies from 2006 to 2008 as an employee of an expert networking firm, which is a business that helps connect investors with consultants who have knowledge of specific companies.

She then shared that information with hedge fund traders who used it to make trades in the stock market. In exchange, Jiau was paid more than $200,000 over the two-year period, according to prosecutors.

"Wini Jiau gave new meaning to the concept of social networking," said Preet Bharara, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, in a statement. "She used and exploited friends at public companies for the purpose of obtaining, and then selling, inside information."

Jiau's attorney, Joanna Hendon, said she plans to appeal the conviction. "We're disappointed in the verdict and look forward to appealing it after sentencing," said Hendon.

Insider trading crackdown nabs 40 and counting

Jiau, who was convicted on one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy, could face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million. She is scheduled to be sentenced in September and remains in custody.

According to the prosecution, Jiau had conversations with Samir Barai and Noah Freeman, two hedge fund managers who pleaded guilty to insider trading in February, in which she leaked information on a quarterly statement from Marvel Technology Group (MRVL) in 2008.

Barai then used that information, which Jiau allegedly obtained from an employee at the media firm, to make $820,000 in illicit gains by trading the company's stock.

In addition to Marvel, Jiau is also accused of selling inside tips on semiconductor company Nvidia Corp. (NVDA)

During the two-week trial, prosecutors played recordings of phone calls between Jiau and her co-conspirators in which she discussed inside information on companies using code words such as "recipes," "cooks" and "sugar."

The conviction comes one week after a jury convicted three other people in the insider trading case that centered on Galleon Group, the now defunct New York hedge fund.

Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of Galleon, was found guilty on 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy last month in what has become one of the biggest insider trading cases in years.

In a separate case, another expert-network consultant, Don Chu, pleaded guilty to insider trading charges earlier this month. Jiau is the first expert-network consultant to be convicted by a jury in the recent crackdown. To top of page

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