Alleged Insider Trader Maybe Did Too Much Googling

Didn't cover up online search history for 'insider trading' too well, prosecutors say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2017 8:31 AM CDT
Alleged Insider Trader Maybe Did Too Much Googling
Your online search history could be a smoking gun if you do something illegal.   (Getty Images/golubovy)

If you don't want the SEC to pick up on the fact that you've carried out an unusual trade, you probably shouldn't Google "how sec detect unusual trade," or "insider trading in an international account." Those are the phrases that federal prosecutors allege MIT researcher Fei Yan, who's being charged with securities fraud and wire fraud, searched for online before scooping up stocks and options that illegally brought in about $120,000, per CNBC. The AP reports the 31-year-old's wife, an attorney at international law firm Linklaters, allegedly provided confidential information to him about two upcoming company mergers. Yan is accused of buying shares in Mattress Firm and Stillwater Mining; he then sold those shares after the acquisitions went public.

Prosecutors say Yan tried to do his homework, using his researching skills to find out how to escape notice by law enforcement: One of the articles he allegedly perused was entitled: "Want to Commit Insider Trading? Here's How Not to Do It." Prosecutors also allege he tried to cover up his illegal windfall by setting up a brokerage account in his mother's name in China, per Reuters. Joon Kim, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, offers a word of advice for those looking to follow in Yan's footsteps, per USA Today: "There is no proper way to commit insider trading." Yan was released on a $500,000 bond. His wife hasn't been charged, though she was suspended by the law firm. His mother has been charged as a "relief defendant" who benefited from his actions. (More insider trading stories.)

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