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U.S. Says Expert-Networker Deserves Up to 10 Years in Prison

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Winifred Jiau, the former Primary Global Research LLC consultant convicted of passing inside tips on publicly traded companies, should be sentenced to prison for as long as 10 years, U.S. prosecutors said.

Jiau, 43, of Fremont, California, was convicted by a jury in June of one count each of conspiracy and securities fraud in federal court in Manhattan. She was found guilty of passing earnings and other information about Nvidia Corp. and Marvell Technology Group Ltd. to hedge fund managers Noah Freeman, a former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager, and Samir Barai, founder of New York-based Barai Capital Management LP.

“It is now clear that Jiau used guile and manipulation to steal sensitive corporate information from multiple sources in an effort to line her own pocket,” assistant U.S. attorneys Avi Weitzman and David Leibowitz said in a court filing today.

Jiau attempted to stymie the federal probe after her arrest by lying to court officials, telling a friend in a March e-mail that she was hoping that no one she had conspired with would “sell me out,” prosecutors said in the filing. They also said she made efforts to secure bail and flee the country after she was arrested in December.

Tips from Jiau allowed fund managers to make from $2.5 million to $7 million in illegal profit, prosecutors said.

Sentencing Range

Primary Global, based in Mountain View, California, links investors with industry experts at public companies. The so-called expert-networking firm is at the center of a nationwide probe of insider trading at hedge funds, technology companies, banks and consulting firms.

Jiau is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff on Sept. 21. Federal sentencing guidelines, which the judge isn’t required to follow, call for a prison term of eight years and one month to 10 years and one month, according to prosecutors.

Joanna Hendon, Jiau’s lawyer, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on prosecutors’ sentencing request to the judge.

The case is U.S. v. Jiau, 11-cr-00161, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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