Ex-Nvidia analyst gets probation for secret leaks

NEW YORK, April 12 Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:13pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 12 (Reuters) - A former Nvidia financial analyst was sentenced on Thursday to one year of probation for an insider trading conspiracy in which he pleaded guilty to tipping a technology consultant about the company's quarterly results in August 2008 before they were announced.

The analyst, Son Ngoc "Sonny" Nguyen, resigned from computer chipmaker Nvidia Corp on May 26, 2011, the day before pleading guilty to criminal charges in a broad U.S. government crackdown on insider trading.

Last June, he testified as a government witness at the trial of the consultant, Winifred Jiau, who was convicted by a New York jury and later sentenced to four years imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.

The same judge imposed a non-custodial sentence on Nguyen on Thursday and ordered him to forfeit $6,464 in proceeds from trades based on company secrets. Nguyen declined the judge's offer to speak at his sentencing proceeding.

His lawyer, Douglas Schneider, told the judge that Nguyen would suffer "collateral consequences for the rest of his life" for his conduct, including "loss of his reputation and career."

Nguyen worked at Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia for five years and met Jiau there when she was hired as a contractor. They became friends and had lunch together in the company cafeteria several times a week, he testified at her trial.

Nguyen said Jiau never told him in 2007 and 2008 that she was also working as a consultant for Primary Global Research, a so-called expert networking firm that worked with hedge funds. She also did not tell him she was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by hedge funds for the leaked earnings information.

The case is USA v Winifred Jiau et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-00161.

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