(Corrects headline to make clear that Jiau was granted the right to post bail, not that she posted bail; changes paragraph 1 to further clarify)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California woman charged with leaking secrets about technology companies to two hedge funds in exchange for illegal payments was granted $250,000 bail on the condition that she stays home under electronic surveillance.
Winifred Jiau, who is at least the sixth person arrested since U.S. authorities raided three hedge funds last month, must wear an ankle monitoring bracelet and surrender her U.S. and Taiwanese passports, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas said in a San Francisco court on Thursday.
Prosecutors accuse Jiau of selling inside information about publicly traded companies including computer chipmakers Marvell Technology and Nvidia to hedge funds, including the founder of a New York fund that prosecutors did not identify.
Jiau, who was arrested at her Fremont, California, home on Tuesday, must also surrender $12,000 in her checking account. She will be released once a friend, Kenneth Lee, guarantees her bail, possibly within hours.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wilson Leung argued Jiau was a flight risk and that she tried to conceal her Taiwanese passport.
“The fact that she seems to be trying to hide her Taiwanese passport suggests she has no intention of answering these charges, ... that she wants to keep something in her back pocket so she can flee,” he said.
But Jiau’s lawyer, Mark Goldrosen, said she freely admitted to the court that she has a Taiwanese passport and that she had known since mid-December that she was likely a person of interest in the insider trading investigation.
Jiau was charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy, and could face 20 years in prison on the securities fraud charge.
Jiau, who Goldrosen said is a self-employed commodities trader, faces a hearing on January 12 to decide whether to move her case to New York.
Prosecutors said the inside information was sold through an “expert network” firm, in exchange for more than $200,000 of payments funneled through that firm, also not identified.
Primary Global Research LLC, an expert network firm that linked investors such as hedge funds with industry experts, has said it used Jiau as a consultant from September 2006 to December 2008, when “the relationship was ended.”
Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Steve Orlofsky