Back in May 2010, a Wells Fargo employee named Waldyr Da Silva Prado Neto got a hot tip that Burger King was going to be bought by private equity firm 3G Capital Partners. Realizing he was in possession of some valuable information, Da Silva Prado Neto did what any rational person with an elastic view of securities laws would, and shared the material non-public information with some clients and friends, making about $175,000 and also putting himself in the good graces of pal he tipped off, who probably promised to return the favor. DSPN used Portuguese to communicate the message that he had information that might be of interest ("If you are around call me at the hotel," he emailed one customer. "I have some info…you have to hear this"), which seems pretty standard, given that he's Brazilian, though at least one person at the SEC is pretty sure it was an attempt to throw regulators off the trail, not realizing the lengths the Commission will go to fight crime.
"Prado's emails and other communications may have been sent from Brazil and written in Portuguese, but our commitment to prosecute illegal insider trading on U.S. markets knows no geographic or language barrier," said Sanjay Wadhwa, deputy chief of the SEC enforcement division's market abuse unit.
Will they pony up the money for Rosetta Stone tapes? Probably not. But they sure as hell will take the time to put words into Google Translate and subsequently nail you to the wall.