Expert-Networker Jiau’s Appeal Is Argued in Federal Court

A lawyer for Winifred Jiau, the ex-Primary Global Research expert-networking firm consultant found guilty of insider trading, challenged her 2011 conviction before a federal appeals court.

Randa Maher, the attorney, told the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York today that the information her client provided to hedge-fund managers wasn’t material and wasn’t a “golden ticket” to millions of dollars in profits.

Jiau is serving a four-year prison term after being found guilty in New York of conspiracy and securities fraud. The jury found she passed earnings and other nonpublic 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.

“There’s no evidence in the record that Ms. Jiau was the golden ticket that caused BCM to trade in Marvel,” Maher told a three-judge panel consisting of Amalya Kearse, Denny Chin and John Walker.

Recordings of phone calls made by Barai shouldn’t have been played for the jury, Maher also argued. At the trial, Jason Pflaum, an analyst who worked for Barai, testified that he listened in on phone calls while his boss got nonpublic information from Jiau.

Recorded Calls

Pflaum testified that because Barai is hearing-impaired, some of the calls with Jiau were recorded. He wrote contemporaneous instant electronic messages to Barai to help him keep up with the conversation with Jiau, Pflaum testified. Maher argued that the trial judge erred when he failed to exclude the recordings.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Miller argued that Jiau’s conviction should be upheld.

“The evidence of insider trading and conspiracy to commit insider trading was overwhelming,” he told the judges.

The case is U.S. v. Jiau, 1:11-cr-00161, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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