Convicted Expert Networker Nguyen Seeks Year of Probation

Bob Nguyen, an expert networking analyst who pleaded guilty to insider trading, asked a judge to impose a one-year term of probation, citing his cooperation and testimony on behalf of the government.

Nguyen, 34, of Santa Clara, California, is a former analyst for expert-networking firm Primary Global Research LLC, or PGR. He pleaded guilty in 2011 in Manhattan federal court, admitting he was part of a scheme at the firm to provide hedge fund clients with material, non-public information.

His lawyer, Susan Cassell, said in a memo to the court that while he faces 18 to 24 months in prison under non-binding U.S. sentencing guidelines, a term of probation is warranted.

“In recognizing his illegal conduct, Mr. Nguyen sought from early on in this case to assist the government to the greatest extent possible, in the prosecution of others involved in this case,” Cassell wrote to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who’s scheduled to sentence Nguyen on Oct. 17.

Expert-networking companies such as Mountain View, California-based PGR match investors with specialists who provide insight into specific markets. When he pleaded guilty, Nguyen said he recruited employees of public companies as consultants who were paid on an hourly basis.

Nguyen’s cooperation includes his testimony at the trial of former PGR executive James Fleishman, who was convicted and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for helping pass inside information to hedge fund managers.

Nguyen told a Manhattan federal court jury that one of Fleishman’s clients was Jesse Tortora, a former analyst at Diamondback Capital Management LLC. Tortora, who also pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the U.S., testified last year at the trial of his former boss, former Diamondback Capital portfolio manager Todd Newman. Newman was convicted and sentenced to 4 1/2 years for insider trading. He remains free on bail while he fights his conviction.

The case is U.S. v. Nguyen, 11-cr-00032, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).