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Insider-trading probe snags California woman

December 29, 2010 | 12:45 pm

A California woman is the latest person to be arrested in the federal government's crackdown on insider trading fueled by technology industry experts.

Winifred Jiau was arrested at her home in Fremont on Tuesday afternoon and charged with providing non-public information about publicly traded companies to hedge funds.

One of the hedge funds is alleged to have made $820,000 by trading on information Jiau provided about Marvell Technology Group Ltd., a Santa Clara, Calif., company that makes computer and mobile phone hardware.

The charges, filed in federal court in Manhattan, are the latest step in the government's probe of firms that connect high-powered investors with employees at publicly traded companies in which they are hoping to invest.

One such expert network firm, Primary Global Research, has been at the center of the allegations so far. The Mountain View, Calif., company has seen two of its employees arrested in the last two months.

The firm that enlisted Jiau as a consultant is not named in the complaint, but the descriptions in the complaint match up with Primary Global Research.

According to the complaint, Jiau was paid more than $200,000 for the consultations she had with hedge funds. She is accused of providing, in one call, inside information she received from a contact at Nvidia Corp., a Santa Clara maker of computer hardware. According to the complaint, Jiau provided data about Nvidia's and Marvell's quarterly results before those results were publicly announced.

In the recent crackdown, the government has not publicly charged anyone working for the hedge funds with making money from the inside information. But the recent complaints have indicated that the government has its sights on a number of hedge fund employees.

The charges filed Wednesday say that unnamed employees at two separate hedge funds profited from information provided by Jiau.

-- Nathaniel Popper

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