Seven people were charged with a scheme to reap nearly $62 million in illegal profits on trades on Dell Inc. shares, the latest salvo in a sweeping probe of suspicious trading at hedge funds.
The FBI in New York arrested four people on Wednesday and authorities announced previously secret charges against three others, making this case one the largest in the office's long-running probe of insider trading.
Dubbed the "Perfect Hedge," the probe has examined suspected sharing of confidential business information with hedge fund managers and analysts.
Galleon Group hedge fund tycoon Raj Rajaratnam was arrested as part of the investigation and is now serving an 11-year prison term.
The defendants arrested on Wednesday include Anthony Chiasson, who co-founded the Level Global Investors hedge fund. He turned himself in to the FBI in New York, an agency spokesman said.
Todd Newman, who headed technology trading for hedge fund Diamondback Capital Management from Boston, was also arrested, the spokesman said.
Chiasson and Newman are accused of illegally trading ahead of computer maker Dell Inc.'s 2008 first- and second-quarter earnings announcements, netting them $57 million and $3.8 million respectively in profits. Another defendant, Jon Horvath, is accused of making a $1 million, illegal Dell trade. The earnings information was provided by an unnamed source at Dell and relayed to the defendants, court documents said.
A Dell representative could not immediately be reached for comment. Lawyers for the trading defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.
Newman had been placed on leave of absence from Diamondback in 2010 and subsequently was let go by that firm. Reuters in November reported the government's interest in Newman.
Chiasson, Newman, Horvath and one other were charged in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with one count each of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud, according to court document.
Horvath, who was also arrested on Wednesday, is currently employed at Sigma Capital management, a unit of Steven A. Cohen's $14 billion hedge fund SAC Capital, said a person familiar with the case who is not authorized to speak publicly.
A spokesman for SAC Capital could not immediately be reached for comment.
A fourth person was arrested in Los Angeles earlier on Wednesday, the FBI spokesman said.
Charges also were made public against three other people who previously have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government, court documents showed.
The three are: Sandeep Goyal, a former Dell employee; Spyridon Adondakis, a former junior analyst at Level Global; and Jesse Tortora, who worked at Diamondback Capital Management.
Lawyers for Adondakis, Tortora and Goyal did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.
The criminal complaint — signed by FBI agent David Makol, who was assigned to the Galleon investigation — accused Newman and Chiasson of using information obtained by the three cooperators and their network of sources at companies to make illegal trades.
MORE HEADACHES FOR SAC
Horvath's arrest creates more headaches for fund industry titan Steven A. Cohen, who has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Federal investigators have been looking into allegations of wrongful trading at SAC for more than four years, Reuters has previously reported, and Horvath's arrest comes after criminal cases of others who have been tied to SAC.
Donald Longueuil, a one-time SAC portfolio manager, last year was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison for insider trading while Noah Freeman, another former SAC portfolio manager, cooperated with the government and pleaded guilty.
More than 50 people have been arrested or charged in overlapping federal insider trading probes that were first unveiled in October 2009. Most of these people have pleaded guilty or been convicted.
Many of the cases have been based at least in part on the use of government wiretaps authorized by federal judges. Four hedge fund firms — Level Global, Diamondback, Loch Capital Management and Barai Capital Management — were raided by the FBI in late 2010 as part of the insider-trading probe.
Level Global, Loch and Barai have since folded.
Rajaratnam remains the best-known investor implicated in the probe. A jury convicted him of fraud and conspiracy last May. Rajat Gupta, a former chief of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and director of both Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., has been charged with providing illegal tips to Rajaratnam. He is fighting those charges.
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