Winifred Jiau received more than $200,000 from two hedge fund managers in exchange for insider information about a pair of technology companies, prosecutors alleged in their opening statements in the former expert-networker's trial yesterday.
"Winifred Jiau would give the men who paid her tomorrow's news today," Assistant U.S. Attorney David Leibowitz told the jury of nine women and three men. And she conspired to get that information from two employees of the two companies, Nvidia Corp. and Marvell Technology Group.
Leibowitz took the opportunity of his opening to introduce jurors to what he argued was Jiau's code. Her tipsters were "cooks," the money she got from her clients was "sugar," and the tips themselves were "recipes."
As an example of the ham-handed code, Leibowitz read a note from Jiau, formerly of expert-network Primary Global Research, to hedge fund manager Samir Barai, who has pleaded guilty in the case: "Anyhow, I will know something when I got the sugar. Before that, I don't know anything."
The prosecutor said cooperators like Barai would testify against Jiau, and that he'd present evidence including taped phone calls, e-mails, instant-message conversations and trading records.
Jiau's lawyer, Joanna Hendon, denied her client had done anything wrong.
"None of that evidence really matters," she said. "Just because some of the information was non-public doesn't mean it was inside information."
"There was no insider trading, and there was certainly no crime of insider trading," she told the jury.