Roomy Khan has over 20 years of combined professional experience in technology industry and Wall Street. She was intimately involved in the Galleon insider trading case. She cooperated with the federal government for over 6 years and was personally charged with wire fraud and insider trading. She served 1 year in the federal prison in Coleman, Florida.

Growing up in a middle class family in India, my values were centered on hard work and education. I was inspired to break the typical mold of women and encouraged to pursue mathematics and science and build a professional career.

I was 27 years old when I landed in Silicon Valley. Armed with a masters in physics from Kent State and a masters in electrical engineering from Columbia University, I looked forward to the palpitating energy of the area.

Silicon Valley was full of entrepreneurship and excitement. The brave new world of upstarts like Microsoft, Netscape, Adobe and Lotus, beckoned young people like me to the valley.

Like baseball scores, we discussed new companies and opportunities at social gatherings, and therein lay the seeds of the insider trading. The person working with the most interesting and powerful start up was the center of attention. I was a sponge trying to gather as much information as I could, to further and explore new career opportunities.

This practice, while very helpful to my career, eventually was the cause of my downfall.

It all started quietly in November 2007. It was a typical day for me, as I made phone calls and chased stock stories in my home office. I heard a knock on my door and I saw two people, a man and a woman in suits. They flashed me their badges, and my heart sank. This was the second time during this decade that FBI came knocking on my door (the first time was related, but seven years earlier).

I kept calm and let them in.

What followed was a routine of surreptitious meetings with the government. Pressured to confess and tell on my colleagues and friends, I was severely conflicted. While the prosecutors were threatening me with very long prison sentence, I was feeling the visceral guilt: “I am toxic.”

In the end, I did not have much of a choice.

October 2009, as I landed at Fort Lauderdale airport -after meeting the FBI and prosecutors in Southern District office in New York City – my phone rang. It was a call from Wall Street Journal reporter asking, “tomorrow we are running the story revealing your name as “Tipper A” in the Galleon insider trading case. Do you have any comments?” I hung up without responding.

By now, Raj Rajaratnam had already been arrested, and my nerves were raw. After my usual strenuous meeting with government officials, I was stressed, tired and forlorn. The phone call led me to believe that “my secret was out.” This evening would open the floodgates for a media frenzy that would change my life forever.

I worked undercover for the FBI for six years, which culminated in me testifying in federal court and spending a year in federal prison. I am currently on supervised release. I want nothing more to do with federal justice system and quite sure they have had enough of me. So what do I do now?

The past 9 years of my life have been a fog. As I emerge from the shadows, I have decided to come out striking and start redefining who I am.

As a South Asian woman, I have worked really hard all my life to make it in a male dominated technology industry and subsequently on Wall Street. However, now photographers and journalists who never knew me or had ever spoken to me were defining me. Every photo of me captured the worst of me and I was defined as overweight, a harridan and a nark.

I have decided to reclaim the narrative. What I am going to do and write, hopefully will add insights to my wrong choices.

To many, Wall Street offers exciting and exhilarating work, but it also affords cutthroat competition. The stakes are very high, and the rules are nebulous. Most importantly, the environment is rife with temptation and hence luring some to make horrific choices.

Source:

http://www.businessinsider.com/roomy-khan-what-its-like-to-get-busted-for-insider-trading-2016-6?IR=T

 

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