Fourteen people were charged with fraud and conspiracy in a dramatic widening of an insider trading scandal that has ensnared hedge fund managers, top Silicon Valley executives and a bevy of white-shoe advisers.
In complaints that read like scripts for “The Sopranos,” prosecutors alleged suspects dropped off bags of cash, used prepaid cellphones to dodge wiretaps, and adopted nicknames such as “the Greek.”
“We allege some of the defendants were taking a page from the drug dealers’ playbook and deliberately used anonymous, hard-to-trace, pre-paid cellphones in order to avoid law enforcement detection,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
The latest charges involve some of the same companies and individuals implicated in the Galleon Group insider trading scandal that broke three weeks ago. It was not clear whether the illegal networks were linked or worked together.
In the largest branch of the investigation unveiled on Thursday, Zvi Goffer, manager of New York-based trading firm Incremental Capital, was accused of leading an insider trading ring that netted $11 million.
The Galleon case is already the biggest hedge fund insider trading scheme in Wall Street history.
Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of the Galleon Group, is accused of masterminding the illegal operation.