(Bloomberg News) Gordon Gekko, the character played by actor Michael Douglas in the movie "Wall Street," is the newest weapon in the FBI's arsenal to combat insider trading, part of a law-enforcement initiative agents say will continue for at least five more years.
The message from Douglas in a public service announcement unveiled today isn't "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." In a first for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Douglas, reprising his Oscar-winning role in the 1987 Oliver Stone film, urges fund managers and Wall Street analysts to avoid taking the same route to the federal penitentiary as his character does.
"In the movie Wall Street I play Gordon Gekko, a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings," the actor says on the 57-second spot, featured on the FBI's website and also available on YouTube.
"The movie was fiction, but the problem is real," Douglas says in the announcement. "Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. For more information on how you can identify securities fraud, or to report insider trading, contact your local FBI."
Douglas's spot is the latest element of "Perfect Hedge," an initiative begun by the FBI New York's office to combat insider trading at hedge funds, said FBI Special Agents David Chaves and Richard Jacobs, supervisors in the bureau's New York's securities and commodities fraud squads.
The law enforcement effort was started in March 2007 by Chaves, Jacobs and their colleagues in New York, who teamed up with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the sources of inside tips and those profiting from them.
The mission has met with success: at least 64 people have been arrested by the FBI and charged by prosecutors in the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Chaves said. To date, 59 people have been convicted at trial or pleaded guilty, including portfolio managers, analysts and insiders at publicly- traded companies since 2009, he said.
In a PowerPoint presentation, Chaves and Jacobs depicted these cases as the tip of the iceberg of insider-trading on Wall Street. They predicted their work will continue.
"I don't want to say it's infinite, but clearly, in five years we think we'll be working it," said Chaves, who added later, "We have cooperators set up for years to come."