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FBI Agent Reveals Insider Trading Investigation Tactics

A small criminal percentage of people on Wall Street tarnish the reputation for a vast majority that are honest and hardworking, said FBI special agent David Chaves. But the small percentage of those who break the law, cheating honest Wall Street participants, must be identified and prosecuted so as to deter future market manipulation.

In regards to insider trading, hedge fund industry is like a secret society

The man in charge of the FBI team that led to the largest insider trading prosecution in recent history, putting behind bars the likes of former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam and McKinsey partner Rajat Gupta, said initially the FBI had very little visibility into the hedge fund industry. “We were surprised at the complexity in the hedge fund industry,” he said when they first attempted to gain access to what amounts to an elite private club.

While Wall Street is very different from organized crime, providing a critical function in a free market economy, Chaves said the tactics he used to build cases against over 100 insider trading cases followed the template the FBI successfully used to crack the U.S. mafia. In some respects it is a secret society that doesn’t talk to outsiders unless a hedge fund manager was a “made man,” Chaves revealed to the capacity crowd at the McGladrey Investment Industry Summit in Chicago on Tuesday.

FBI increasingly targeting individuals, as tactics to pass non public data can be complex

He told the audience of Chicago traders, financial service professionals and corporate executives that the FBI is targeting individuals for corporate misdeeds to a much greater extent than in the recent past, working...


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