Federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed new charges as part of a national probe of insider trading, accusing Winifred Jiau of California with selling inside information to two unidentified hedge funds.
Jiau, arrested today in Fremont, was accused of selling data on Nvidia Corp. and Marvell Technology Group Ltd., makers of computer components, through a so-called expert networking firm, according to a filing today in Manhattan federal court. The hedge funds paid Jiau $200,000 through an expert networking firm, prosecutors said.
Jiau, 43, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. The first count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Jiau appeared this morning in San Francisco federal court and was ordered held in custody by U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas, who set a hearing for Jan. 12 on whether to transfer her to New York.
Jiau’s arrest follows charges earlier this month against three technology company workers who allegedly sold secrets about Apple Inc., Dell Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The men, who worked at AMD, Flextronics International Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., were arrested on securities fraud and conspiracy charges for a scheme that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said operated from 2008 to early 2010.
Also arrested at the time was James Fleishman, a sales manager at Primary Global Research LLC, the expert-networking firm where the three worked as consultants. If convicted, all four face as long as 20 years in prison.
Expert-networking companies such as Mountain View, California-based Primary Global match investors with specialists who provide insight into specific markets. The criminal complaint unsealed earlier this month against the men described the links among Primary Global, the technology experts it employed and unidentified hedge funds willing to pay for inside information.
Santa Clara, California-based Marvell, which makes chips for the BlackBerry phone, declined to comment. A call and e-mail to Hector Marinez, a spokesman for Nvidia, also based in Santa Clara, weren’t immediately returned.
In the Jiau complaint, B.J. Kang, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, described the expert networking firm at issue in that case as having a main office in Mountain View, with additional offices in New York and San Francisco.
The firm advertises itself as an “independent investment research firm that provides institutional money managers and analysts with market intelligence,” according to the filing, which matches language on the website of Primary Global.
The case is U.S. v. Shimoon, 10-mj-2823, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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