Wednesday's verdict in the Raj Rajaratnam insider-trading case may be one of the most important on record, but it's far from the only high-profile insider case. Here are a handful of others that caught the financial world's attention.
During the 1929 stock market crash, Albert Wiggin, the president of Chase National Bank, shorted shares of his own firm and concealed the trades in family owned corporations and accounts. Although the $4 million profit was legal at the time, it was a clear example of the type of conflict of interest that would be later addressed by Security Acts of 1933 and 1934.
One of the first modern SEC enforcements of insider trading regulations came against Robert Gintel, a partner with Cady, Roberts & Company. In November 1959, Gintel was informed by J. Cheever Cowdin, another partner with Cady, Roberts & Co. that the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, of which Chowdin was a director, would be cutting its dividend. Gintel sold shares on behalf of his clients and wife and was later fined and reprimanded by the SEC for violation of Tipping regulations.
A journalist with the Wall Street Journal, in 1985 Winans was convicted of 59 counts of securities fraud for the leaking of information in his column to a stockbroker prior to publication. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In 1989, Michael Milken, then with Drexel, and known as the “Junk Bond King” was indicted on 98 counts of securities fraud and racketeering after an SEC insider-trading investigation. As part of a plea bargain, Milken plead guilty to several securities violations and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $650 million.
In 1986 Ivan Boesky was prosecuted for profiting upwards of $200 million trading on insider tips around corporate takeovers. As part of a plea deal which included informing on Michael Milken, he was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and fines $100 million.
Prior to the public announcement in December 2002 that ImClone's monoclonal antibody would not receive FDA approval, company founder Samuel D. Waksal leaked the information to family and friends who illegally sold their shares. Included in the group of insiders was Martha Stewart, of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia fame. Waksal ultimately pled guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. Martha Stewart maintained her innocence, but was convicted for lying about the sale of stock and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of home confinement with two years probation.
In 2006 Enron's former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was found guilty on 19 charges of fraud and insider trading relating to the collapse of Enron. He is currently serving a 24 year sentence.
In 2007 former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading arising from his sale of $50 million of stock while he knew that the business could not hit the publicly promised revenue projections. He was fined $19 million and sentenced to six years in prison.
In June, 2009 the SEC charged the former Countrywide CEO with insider trading stemming from the $140 million sale of his stock. The government maintains that Mozilo sold based on non-public information and in October 2010, the SEC settled the charges for $67.5 million.
The billionaire founder Galleon Group hedge fund, was found guilty Wednesday of 14 counts of securities fraud and insider trading which netted $63.8 million between 2003 and 2009. He will be sentenced on July 29 to a maximum of 205 years in prison.
There's no shortage of those who have tried to game the system on Wall Street.