Level Global Investors LP co-founder Anthony Chiasson and former Diamondback Capital Management LLC portfolio manager Todd Newman were found guilty of insider trading by a federal jury in New York.
Chiasson and Newman were accused of reaping more than $70 million on trades in Dell Inc. (DELL) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) based on illicit tips provided by the analysts who worked for them. They were convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud, with the latter crime carrying a term of as long as 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan set an April 19 sentencing date.
The two were part of what the government calls a "corrupt chain" of a tight-knit group of friends who swapped and traded on illicit tips obtained from friends who worked at technology companies. The scheme lasted between late 2007 until 2009, the government alleged.
Prosecutors said during the federal court trial in Manhattan that in 2008, Chiasson and Level Global earned $57 million on illegal tips on Dell while Newman and Diamondback earned $3.8 million on secret information about the computer maker. Chiasson and his fund earned $10 million on Nvidia tips in 2009 while Newman and Diamondback earned $48,000, prosecutors said.
Six others who were charged with being part of the insider- trading ring by the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, including Jon Horvath, a former analyst at SAC Capital Advisors LP's Sigma unit, have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with authorities.
John Nathanson, a lawyer for Newman, and Chiasson's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, argued during the trial that their clients didn't know that the information they received was from company insiders.
Nathanson and Greg Morvillo, another lawyer for Chiasson, declined to comment on the verdict today.
Four people who pleaded guilty to being part of the alleged scheme agreed to cooperate with the U.S. testified at the trial.
Two members of the group, former Diamondback analyst Jesse Tortora, who worked for Newman and Spyridon "Sam" Adondakis, a former Level Global analyst who worked for Chiasson, took the stand and told jurors they swapped inside information on technology companies which they passed to their fund managers who they said traded on it. Tortora testified he passed the information to Newman while Adondakis told jurors he gave it to Chiasson.
The case is U.S. v. Newman, 1:12-cr-00121, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).--Courtesy of Bloomberg