On Thursday evening, FBI special agent David Chaves gave a presentation on insider trading at an event hosted by the New York Hedge Fund Round Table at the Penn Club of New York.
Since 2009, the government has been cracking down on insider trading in the hedge fund industry.
There have been dozens of arrests and convictions of hedge fund managers and traders since that time.
During Chaves’ talk, he discussed some of the ways the FBI learned hedge fund traders and analysts were sharing material, nonpublic information.
As expected, some were using burner phones they purchased at retailers like Walmart and Kmart. Others, the FBI learned, were using social networks to send cryptic messages to signal when a trade was on.
Perhaps the most creative method, though, was the use of video game chatrooms.
“Things like PlayStation and Xbox, brilliance here — Get on the internet, play anyone else in the world in a game like ‘Call Of Duty’ and be able to get in a private bunker and have a conversation and guess what — pass on material, nonpublic information,” Chaves said.
“That’s genius” one of the guests near me whispered, while others laughed.
While playing “Call Of Duty,” you can wear a headset and talk to your teammates from their respective locations.
We reached out to Chaves to clarify how those traders were caught on the video game consoles.