The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged an IT professional and four friends with insider trading. Janardhan Nellore is accused of trading Palo Alto Networks securities based on confidential information he obtained during his employment as an IT administrator for the company and tipping off his friends, Sivannarayana Barama, Ganapathi Kunadharaju, Saber Hussain, and Prasad Malempati, who also traded. The complaint states that at the peak of their scheme in 2017, the five friends achieved more than $7 million in illegal trading profits.
According to the SEC, the defendants sought to evade detection by using code words and carefully tailored cash withdrawals. Erin E. Schneider, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office noted that the case highlights the SEC’s use of enhanced data analysis tools to spot suspicious trading patterns and identify the traders behind them.