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Silicon Valley IT Manager Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A former Silicon Valley information technology manager pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose Wednesday to a charge of conspiring to commit securities fraud through insider trading of the company's stock.

Janardhan Nellore, 42, of Santa Clara, was formerly a manager in the information technology department at Palo Alto Networks Inc. of Santa Clara. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to conspiring in the fraud between 2015 and 2018.

Nellore has been in custody since his arrest at San Francisco International Airport on May 8 as he and his family were preparing to board a flight to New Delhi with one-way tickets.

According to a criminal complaint filed on May 9, Nellore bought the tickets after being interviewed by the FBI about the suspected fraud on May 7.

Nellore both traded in securities and gave tips to other investors on the basis of inside information, according to a superseding indictment filed on Dec. 12.

Charges remain pending against Sivannarayana Barama, 45, of Fremont, a former contract employee of Palo Alto Networks who allegedly bought and sold stock on the basis of inside information from Nellore.

Nellore, Barama and three others were also sued by the U.S.  Securities and Exchange Commission in federal court in San Jose Tuesday in a civil lawsuit alleging misuse of insider information.

The civil lawsuit alleges that at the peak of their scheme in 2017, the defendants achieved more than $7 million in illegal trading profits, but they had mixed results with their stock trading in 2018.


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