Roomy Khan provides a rare look inside the secretive world of insider trading. She tells how she got caught and then helped the government bring down Raj Rajaratnam -- the billionaire co-founder of one of the world's largest hedge funds -- in her first television interview on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 22 at 7 p.m ET/PT.
Khan was an important source for some of the inside information Rajaratnam, the head of The Galleon Group, used to make what federal authorities estimated to reach $72 million on illegal trades. It was Khan who provided the secret information about Google that enabled Rajaratnam to make a quick $8 million on that stock. She met Rajaratnam while she was working at Intel in California in the 1990s.
"And he started asking me about 'How's business?' and I used to have access to Intel's top customer microprocessor bookings. I started giving him this information," she tells Whitaker. She says he offered her money to stay at Intel, but she had Wall Street ambitions and refused. Instead, she went into business as a stock analyst where she says inside information was sought after among her peers.
"You are pushed and pushed to get this information," she said. "You know, you get the high fives after the trade. I was sent flowers after one of the trades. Big thank you, a huge bouquet. Thank you."
The more unexpected the secret information was, the more lucrative the illegal trade could be, she says. "The most money you make is when your analysis is totally in an opposite to what your edge is telling you."
She says Rajaratnam called the secret information "the edge." And she willingly shared some of her tips with him. But she slipped up one day and sent him a text that would later come back to haunt her. "I texted him. And I said, "Don't buy Polycom...till I check the guidance." This led to a visit from the authorities. "Two people knocked on my door and they flashed their badge and my heart sank..."
She says she knew she would have to cooperate. Her information allowed the government to get a judge's permission to tap Rajaratnam's cell phone to build a case that resulted in an 11-year prison term for the hedge fund king. Khan got a year. "As I look back...I'm aghast at the choices I made," she tells Whitaker. "I had all the right the breaks. I was so fortunate. I landed in the United States. I was very fortunate and then I threw it all away."