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FBI officials are building cases against 120 people accused of insider trading in an expanding criminal probe.
The FBI is investigating 120 people for insider trading, and has recruited Michael Douglas, who played the infamous criminal Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street," to star in a PSA about financial fraud.
FBI officials are actively expanding their criminal probe after a successful investigation led to 66 charges for insider trading since late 2009, and 57 convictions or guilty pleas, AFP reported.
The latest federal operation is called Perfect Hedge, and agents said it is likely to continue for years, as the network of sources they have developed multiplies and more tips flow in, The New York Times reported. However, the agency's focus on insider trading has been criticized by some who believe it is a distraction from more important crackdowns.
On Monday, the FBI launched a commercial campaign against financial fraud, featuring a clip of Michael Douglas from the film "Wall Street" voicing his trademark line "Greed...is good." Present-day Douglas then urges viewers to alert their local FBI offices if they have any information about insider trading.
"The movie was fiction, but the problem is real," Douglas said in the video.
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"The more people out there [who are] aware of the problem, the more opportunities we have to get tips," Richard T. Jacobs, a supervisory special agent at the FBI, told the Times.
Douglas said he was "startled over the positive response he received as Gordon Gekko."
"I don't know what's wrong with Wall Street but I would be approached all the time, people would 'high-five' me or shake my hand for being this terrible man who stole people's money," Douglas told agents, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "Where are the values? What are people thinking when I'm held like a hero in that role? The culture has to change."
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Last October, Raj Rajaratnam, a former hedge-fund manager and the founder of Galleon Group, one of the largest hedge fund management firms in the world, was sentenced to 11 years in jail and fined $10 million for one of the biggest insider trading cases in American history, BBC News reported. Over two dozen people were jailed in connection to the case, with sentences ranging from a few months to 10 years.
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“Integrity and fairness are paramount to the success of our markets,” FBI Assistant Director Janice K. Fedarcyk said in a statement, the New York Daily News reported. “The FBI will continue to pursue those who cheat the system.”