12-03-2016  9:45 am      •     

NEW YORK (AP) -- Three employees at public companies and a sales executive at a California expert-networking firm on Thursday became the latest to be arrested in a wide-ranging Wall Street insider trading probe that has now resulted in charges against six people.

James Fleishman, 41, of Santa Clara, Calif., a networking executive who worked at Mountain View, Calif.-based Primary Global Research, was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy for providing confidential information to the firm's clients, including hedge funds, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Others charged were Mark Anthony Longoria, 44, of Round Rock, Texas; Walter Shimoon, 39, of San Diego; and Manosha Karunatilaka, 37, of Marlborough, Mass. They were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, according to papers filed in federal court in Manhattan.

Longoria worked at Advanced Micro Devices Inc. as a supply chain manager, Shimoon worked at Flextronic International Ltd. as senior director of business development, and Karunatilaka worked as an account manager at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

It was not immediately clear who would represent the defendants when they make initial court appearances in the states where they were arrested. A message seeking comment from Fleishman was not immediately returned.

Prosecutors also announced that Daniel Devore, formerly a global supply manager for Dell Inc. who worked as a consultant for the firm, pleaded guilty Dec. 10 to wire fraud and conspiracy charges.

The charges came several weeks after a New Jersey consulting firm executive became the first to be arrested in the investigation.

The new federal insider trading probe targets industry analysts, experts and consultants.

In a release, Bharara said the charges allege that a "corrupt network of insiders at some of the world's leading technology companies served as so-called 'consultants' who sold out their employers by stealing and then peddling their valuable inside information."

He said the allegations describe criminal conduct that went "well beyond any legitimate information-sharing or good faith business practice."

FBI Assistant Director Janice K. Fedarcyk said the more than $400,000 that the Primary Global Research paid the four consultants merely to participate in phone calls with their clients "is an indication of the value placed on the information.

"This wasn't market research. What the defendants did was purchase and sell insider information," Fedarcyk said, adding: "Our investigation is most assuredly continuing."

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Fleishman was responsible as a sales manager at Primary Global Research for attracting new clients and keeping existing clients happy with the service.

The complaint said Fleishman helped arrange for clients, including hedge funds, to speak with consultants that he knew could provide inside information to the clients.

Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.

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