The Securities and Exchange Commission charged 14 people in an insider trading ring that involved coded text messages on disposable cell phones, information from a Morgan Stanley lawyer, and secret meetings at the Oyster Bar. Wonder if they also shared information via the Whispering Gallery, too.
The SEC says there were two schemes. One at UBS where an executive director gave tips to other traders for a share of the profits in cash. According to the Daily News, Michael Guttenberg of UBS suggested scam at an Oyster Bar meeting in 2001; apparently he offered this insider trading plan so he wouldn't have to pay back money he owed his trader buddy!
Some of the UBS scheme participants were involved in the Morgan Stanley scheme, which used inside information from Morgan Stanley's compliance lawyer. What's more, compliance lawyer Randi Collota would pass tips about Morgan Stanley's deals to her husband and a day trader, who then gave information to Bear Stearns. That's company loyalty, for you.
The people involved made $14-15 million, with participants buying things like a boat called "Enough is Never Enough." The SEC called it the "one of most pervasive Wall Street insider-trading rings since the days of Ivan Boesky and Dennis Levine." And people wonder why Wall Street types are so reviled?
Photograph of the Oyster Bar by New York Daily Photo