PGR consultants - employees of major corporations - were paid $150 to $1,000 per hour to communicate with clients of the firm. PGR gave them the option of using pseudonyms, the SEC said. In e-mails, PGR personnel talked about tips that would translate into "fast money" for clients, the SEC said.
Daniel L. DeVore, a global supply manager at Dell, made about $145,000 moonlighting for PGR and sharing confidential information about both the computer maker and its suppliers, the SEC alleged.
Another PGR consultant, Winifred Jiau, allegedly provided advance word that for the first quarter of 2008, a technology company called Marvell would report revenue of $804 million and earnings per share of 11 cents, according to the SEC.
Lawyers for DeVore and Jiau did not return calls for comment. A spokesman for PGR declined to comment.
Even as the government tries to prosecute some hedge-fund traders for inside deals, others have offered to help law enforcement crack down on the problem. The SEC alleges that a former assistant for Disney's head of corporate communications and her boyfriend tried to profit from secret company information, including Disney's quarterly earnings before they were released.
The assistant, Bonnie Hoxie, and her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag (who used the alias "Jonathan Cyrus") sent letters in early 2010 to more than 20 hedge funds, some of whom immediately alerted the SEC, according to the government.
The FBI then went undercover and contacted Sebbag, offering to buy his information. The SEC says that when Hoxie learned Disney's earnings per share, she began dreaming of the designer handbags that Sebbag could buy her as a gift, sending him a photo of a Stella McCartney bag.
Sebagg's response: "I may be able to [buy] u 2 of them, lol."
Sebagg and Hoxie have both pleaded guilty. Sebagg was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Hoxie will be sentenced later this month.