A former investment analyst at Goldman Sachs who was recently indicted by the FBI for insider trading — along with two associates — may have been caught thanks in part to Xbox 360 chat. While it’s not unusual for developers and publishers to punish volatile players misusing in-game voice chat, it’s decidedly less common for it to play a role in a criminal proceeding.
A former Goldman Sachs analyst was recorded admitting to passing on illegal trading tips to friends, possibly over Xbox 360 chat
As initially reported by Kotaku, an FBI indictment reveals that former Goldman Sachs investment analyst Anthony Viggiano may have used the voice chat feature on the Xbox 360 to illegally pass on stock tips to friends. The FBI claims that Viggiano used privileged information obtained through his job as a Goldman Sachs analyst to advise co-conspirator Christopher Salamone and others on which stocks to purchase and sell. According to the indictment, the scheme netted the group over $400,000 in illicit profits before eventually being uncovered thanks to the FBI’s investigation.
On recordings obtained by the FBI, Viggiano attempted to calm a friend who was concerned that their insider trading might be uncovered by reassuring him that his chosen method of console-based communication was secure. According to the indictment, Viggiano allegedly told co-conspirator Salamone that “like Xbox 360 chat, there’s no tracing that.” Unfortunately for Viggiano, his confidence in Microsoft’s voice chat system may have been misplaced.
While it’s unclear from the indictment whether the FBI actually obtained recordings of illicit stock tips provided by Viggiano over Xbox 360 voice chat, it seems that the possibility they existed was enough to flip his co-conspirator. Salamone, who was arrested along with Viggiano on September 28, has already pleaded guilty to charges of securities fraud.
Multiplayer hacks are probably what comes to mind for most gamers when they think about illicit activities occurring on their system of choice. But this unusual case shows how consoles’ online infrastructure can be used in an even more nefarious manner. And while this blatant misuse of the Xbox 360’s voice chat feature alone may not be solely responsible for Viggiano’s indictment for insider trading, its prominent role in the case makes for a hilarious cautionary tale for would-be criminals.