Accused Hedge Fund Tipster Jiau's Fate In Jury's Hands

Jun 20 2011 | 2:02am ET

A federal jury will be back in court today to continue considering the fate of Winifred Jiau, the former expert-network consultant accused of selling insider information to two hedge funds.

The jurors failed to reach a verdict on the securities fraud and conspiracy charges on their first day of deliberations Friday. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff handed them the case after prosecutors made their rebuttal summation Friday morning.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Leibowitz took aim at defense attorney Joanna Hendon's argument that Jiau's tips were not material, which is required the prove insider-trading. He told the jury that Jiau traded on her own tips.

"Ms. Hendon's own client refutes what she spent more than an hour talking about yesterday," Leibowitz said, referring to Hendon's Thursday summation. "This is evidence that the information Winifred Jiau obtained and passed was important and material."

And valuable: Leibowitz showed the jury two messages Jiau allegedly sent to hedge fund manager Samir Barai, who has pleaded guilty in the case.

"Same relationship meaning same amount as you were in the last job," Jiau wrote to Barai as he prepared to launch his new firm. "There are costs. I need to pay my two secured sources. They supply the actual numbers to the decimal point."

After deliberations commenced, the jury sent questions about the securities fraud laws to Rakoff and asked to re-hear testimony from Sonny Nguyen, a key prosecution witness who testified that he provided confidential information about Nvidia Corp., where he worked, to Jiau.

Jiau, formerly of Primary Global Research, is the first person to face trial in the Justice Department's crackdown on expert networks. A total of 13 people have been charged in the case; eight have pleaded guilty.

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