by: Magdalena M. Kadziolka, Esq.
In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko said, “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” It looks like the FBI agrees. Consistent with our earlier blog posts on the federal government’s aggressive approach to prosecute insider trading by using means once reserved for other crimes, the FBI has now released a Financial Fraud Public Service Announcement featuring none other than Gordon Gekko, or rather, Michael Douglas, himself. Mr. Douglas states, “In the movie Wall Street I played Gordon Gekko, a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings. The movie was fiction, but the problem is real. Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
The FBI’s PSA is an attempt to ask people with information about potential insider trading to come forward, anonymously if they wish, to aid the FBI in rooting out securities fraud and insider trading. The FBI noted that “root[ing] out criminal behavior in the marketplace” is a “top FBI priority.” That fact should come as no surprise, as the FBI has taken to using wiretaps, monitoring phone calls and other types of surveillance, as seen prominently in the Galleon Group and Raj Rajaratnam proceedings. Such methods had previously been used to root out mob activity or drug rings. It’s clear that the FBI is pulling out all the weapons in its arsenal to put an end to financial crimes. It would come as no surprise if the number of criminal indictments for crimes like insider trading jumped given the FBI’s vigor and strategies aimed at exposing such crimes. Indeed, Bloomberg reports that “Open FBI investigations into corporate, securities and commodity fraud increased 8.8 percent as of Sept. 30,” including an increase in insider trading probes. See the article here. Gordon Gekkos everywhere may soon be getting John Gotti treatment.In case you are curious and would like to view Mr. Douglas’s PSA, click here, to be directed to the FBI’s post about the PSA.