Convicted Expert Networker Nguyen Gets 2 Years’ Probation

An expert networking analyst who was one of the first to plead guilty and cooperate with a U.S. insider-trading probe was sentenced to two years of probation.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, who presided over the case, initially said at a hearing today that he intended to impose a sentence of time-served on Bob Nguyen. After learning that Nguyen was never arrested, the judge said he wasn’t eligible for a time-served sentence.

Just before his probation sentence was imposed, Nguyen apologized to the court for his crimes.

“I’m very sorry for what I’ve done,” he said. “I’ll never do it again, and I thank the court for its consideration.”

Nguyen’s lawyer, Susan Cassell, argued he should get probation because he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. as soon as he was approached by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under non-binding U.S. sentencing guidelines, he faced 18 to 24 months in prison.

Nguyen said during his plea that he recruited employees of public companies to work as consultants for PGR who were paid on an hourly basis for talking to portfolio managers and analysts.

He admitted passing nonpublic information to fund managers from consultants at companies that included Dell Inc., Flextronics International Ltd., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and AT&T Inc.

Prosecutors said Nguyen provided the U.S. with “substantial assistance,” citing 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 Testified

Nguyen testified that one of Fleishman’s clients was Jesse Tortora, a former analyst at Diamondback Capital Management LLC. Tortora later agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the U.S. Tortora testified last year at the Manhattan federal court insider-trading trial of Level Global Investors LP co-founder Anthony Chiasson and former Diamondback portfolio manager Todd Newman. Both men were convicted by a jury.

Tortora also is scheduled to testify for the government at the insider-trading trial of SAC Capital Advisors LP fund manager Michael Steinberg, who’s pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges.

Expert-networking companies such as Mountain View, California-based PGR match investors with specialists who provide insight into specific markets.

To date the U.S. has filed insider-trading charges against more than 85 people and won convictions against 75.

The case is U.S. v. Nguyen, 11-cr-00032, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). For Related News and Information:

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.