With high-profile case, SEC hopes to deter insider trading

Billionaire Galleon Group hedge fund co-founder Raj Rajaratnam enters a Manhattan Federal Court on the second day of the defense phase of his trial for insider trading on April 12, 2011 in New York City.

Jeremy Hobson: A jury could start deliberating as soon as today in a high profile insider trading case on Wall Street. This is the case of Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund. He's accused of using insider information to make money. But what will this case mean for how business is done on Wall Street?

Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: Whether or not Raj Rajaratnam is convicted, his case has gotten people paying attention to insider trading again.

Robert Heim is a lawyer who used to work at the Securities and Exchange Commission. He says that's part of what prosecutors wanted to do with his case.

Robert Heim: The SEC and the prosecutors have really intended to show that insider trading cases are back at the top of the agenda.

There have been plenty of high-profile insider cases in the past, think Ivan Boesky or Martha Stewart. The question is whether those cases deter somebody considering a life of white-collar crime.

Seth Taube is head of litigation for Baker Botts, which is a law firm. He used to work in the enforcement department of the SEC. He has a cynical take.

Seth Taube: The deterrent effect lasts for a year or two, then the next generation of 30- somethings, who think they're the smartest guys in the room, come up with new schemes.

Taube says the new financial reform bill could change the insider trading game. Among other things, it includes provisions to oversee hedge funds much more rigorously.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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