A complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday alleges that four insiders at technology companies participated in telephone calls with clients of investment research firm Primary Global Research (PGR) in the guise of "consulting," and that those customers included at least two hedge funds, which were not named in the complaint.
On Wednesday, authorities made four arrests related to the charges outlined in the complaint. These include Mark Anthony Longoria, who worked for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Water Shimoon of Flextronics, and Manosha Karunatilaka, who was employed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. According to the complaint, Longoria received $200,000 from PGR, while the others respectively netted $22,000 and $35,000.
In addition, authorities announced that last Friday, Daniel Devore -- formerly a global supply manager for Dell, and who likewise worked as a consultant for PGR -- pled guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud charges. They said Devore received about $145,750 from PGR for providing confidential information.
Also arrested on Wednesday was James Fleishman, VP of sales at PGR. Authorities allege that he arranged meetings between the consultants trading in insider information and PGR's clients, and have charged him with wire fraud and conspiracy charges for conspiring to provide confidential information to those clients.
"Today's charges allege that a corrupt network of insiders at some of the world's leading technology companies served as so-called 'consultants' who sold out their employers by stealing and then peddling their valuable inside information," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.
"The information trafficked by the four 'consultants' went way beyond permissible market research; it was insider information," said FBI assistant director-in-charge Janice K. Fedarcyk in a statement. "And the fifth defendant was directly involved in the transfer of inside information from the consultants to hedge funds and other end users."
For example, the complaint alleges that Shimoon sold Apple's sales forecast data, as well as forthcoming iPhone features. It also mentions "cooperating witnesses" who detailed phone calls with Longoria, during which he shared AMD's "revenue information, average sales prices, product sales figures, and gross margin information."