R. Foster Winans insider trading

Uncovering the R. Foster Winans Insider Trading Scandal


Welcome to the story of the uncovering of the R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal. This case of insider trading is one of the most infamous examples of white-collar crime in the financial world and serves as a reminder of the need for integrity and transparency in the stock markets. This case also serves as a cautionary tale for those who may be tempted to use information not available to the public for personal gain. In this article, we will examine the events leading up to the scandal, the repercussions of the scandal, and how the industry has changed since then. We will also consider the lessons that can be learned from this case. So join us as we take a closer look at the R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal.

How The Scandal Developed

Winans’ Role At The Wall Street Journal

In the 1980s, R. Foster Winans was a reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He was one of the most well-known and respected reporters in the financial world. Winans was responsible for the Heard on the Street column in the WSJ. He had access to unpublished articles and information that weren’t available to the general public. 

In 1983, Winans was accused of giving non-public information to two brokers, Kenneth Felis, and Peter Nye, in exchange for payments. Winans was said to have leaked stories to the two brokers before they were published in the WSJ. The two brokers then used this information to make profitable trades in the stock market. 

Winans was indicted on 32 counts of mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy. He was accused of making over $31,000 in profits from these illegal trades. He was also accused of defrauding the WSJ and its readers. 

Winans was found guilty on all 32 counts in 1985 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He also had to pay a $30,000 fine and $31,000 in restitution to the WSJ. After his release from prison, Winans wrote a book about his experience, A Scandal on Wall Street.He later worked in the financial industry as a consultant and financial analyst. 

The Wall Street Journal Insider Trading Scandal is often cited as an example of the dangers of insider trading. Winans’ role in the scandal serves as a reminder that those who have access to non-public information have a responsibility to not misuse it for personal gain.

R. Foster Winans insider trading

The Heard On The Street Column

The Heard on the Street column is a long-running feature in The Wall Street Journal. The column is written by a team of reporters who cover the financial markets. Provide readers with up-to-date and in-depth coverage of the markets. It focuses on the strategies and financial moves of large corporations, as well as the activities of influential investors.

The column often provides readers with an inside look at the markets. It offers an analysis of market trends, stocks, and other investments. It also provides insights into the strategies that successful investors use to make money in the markets.

The column is known for its witty and often humorous writing style. As well as its detailed and insightful coverage of the markets. It has been praised for its ability to provide readers with a comprehensive look at the markets and the forces driving them.

The column has been in print since the early 1980s and is considered a must-read for anyone interested in the stock market. It is updated regularly and provides readers with the latest news and analysis on the markets. The column is widely read by both professional and amateur investors, as well as financial advisors.

The Heard on the Street column has become an institution in the financial world. It is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential sources of information on the markets. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the stock market, providing them with an up-to-date and comprehensive look at the markets.

R. Foster Winans insider trading

Winans’ Scheme

Winans’ Scheme was a fraudulent stock manipulation scheme that operated between 1869 and 1872 and was perpetrated by two brothers, William and Charles Winans. The brothers were able to make millions of dollars by manipulating the price of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). They did this by purchasing stock in large quantities, then creating artificial demand for the stock by purchasing and selling shares in it quickly. This created the illusion of a rising stock price when in reality the stock was not worth anything near what they were trading it for.

The brothers were able to make a fortune by taking advantage of the fact that the NYSE was a relatively new market, and not well-regulated. They were able to purchase large blocks of stock without attracting too much attention from the market regulators. The brothers also had connections with several prominent Wall Street figures, which allowed them to acquire information about upcoming market moves before anyone else knew about them. This allowed them to buy and sell stocks at just the right time, ensuring that they profited from the scheme.

The scheme ended when the Winans brothers were caught by federal investigators, who uncovered the fact that the brothers had been artificially manipulating the stock market. In 1872, they were both arrested and charged with fraud. They were eventually convicted and sentenced to prison but were pardoned by President Grant in 1877.

The Winans’ Scheme is considered to be one of the earliest examples of stock market manipulation, and their story serves as a lesson for those looking to invest in the stock market. It is important to remember that stock prices can be artificially inflated or deflated and that investors should always do their due diligence and research before investing.

The Investigation And Prosecution

The investigation into the R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal was extensive and involved a thorough review of records and interviews with witnesses. The investigation uncovered evidence that Winans, a Wall Street Journal reporter, had been using his access to the paper’s Heard on the Street column to provide advance notice of upcoming stories to co-conspirators. The co-conspirators then placed trades based on the information before the release of the stories, resulting in significant financial gains. In addition to Winans, the investigation identified three other individuals involved in the scheme.

The investigation also revealed that the co-conspirators had created a sham company to conceal their activities and that Winans had used his own brokerage account to place trades. To further hide their activities, the co-conspirators also used a series of offshore accounts to transfer funds. 

As part of the investigation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) conducted interviews with numerous individuals, including Winans, his co-conspirators, and other Wall Street Journal employees. The SEC also reviewed financial records, including phone records, brokerage accounts, and bank statements. The SEC also conducted an analysis of the impact of insider trading on the stock prices of the companies affected by the scheme. 

Results Of The Investigation

The investigation resulted in criminal charges being brought against Winans and his co-conspirators. Winans was sentenced to 15 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The other co-conspirators were sentenced to a range of prison sentences, from five months to three years. 

In addition to criminal penalties, the SEC also imposed financial penalties on Winans and his co-conspirators. The SEC ordered Winans to pay $1,750,000 in disgorgement and fines, and the other co-conspirators to pay a total of $2,500,000. 

Finally, the SEC also imposed a cease and desist order on Winans and his co-conspirators, which barred them from participating in any future insider trading activities.

Foster Winans Insider Trading Scandal Investigation Methods

Document Examination 

Document examination was an important part of the investigation into R. Foster Winans’ insider trading scandal. Investigators looked at documents such as trading records, telephone records, and diaries to determine if any of the parties involved had conducted insider trading.


Investigators interviewed individuals involved in the scandal, such as R. Foster Winans and his associates, to determine their involvement in the case. They also interviewed members of the Wall Street Journal staff to determine if any of them had knowledge of the scheme.


Investigators conducted surveillance on R. Foster Winans and his associates to determine if any of them had been involved in insider trading. They also monitored financial markets to look for any suspicious activity that may have been related to the case.

Analysis of Financial Data 

Investigators conducted a detailed analysis of financial data related to the case. This included analyzing trading patterns, stock prices, and other financial information to determine if R. Foster Winans and his associates had engaged in any illegal activities.

Computer Forensics 

Investigators also conducted computer forensics to determine if any of the parties involved had used computers to aid them in their insider trading activities.

Analysis of Regulatory Filings 

Investigators also analyzed regulatory filings, such as SEC filings, to determine if any of the parties involved had violated any laws or regulations related to insider trading.

The Insider Trading Controversy Involving R. Foster Winans: Who Are These People?

Robert Foster Winans

A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the main suspect in the controversy.

Carpenter, David

An ex-assistant editor at the Wall Street Journal was also implicated in the controversy.

K. F. Felis, Kenneth

A former stockbroker who, along with Winans and Carpenter, was accused of criminal activity.

P. N. Brant, Peter

A shareholder who allegedly benefited from the insider trading scheme.

What Are The Institutions Involved In The R. Foster Winans’s Insider Trading Scandal?

Salomon Brothers 

Salomon Brothers were the Wall Street brokerage firm that employed R. Foster Winans. The firm was implicated in the scandal when it was discovered that Winans had been sharing confidential information with the firm’s clients in exchange for money.

Kidder, Peabody & Co

Kidder, Peabody & Co. was a Wall Street brokerage firm that is alleged to have received inside information from Winans and used it to purchase stocks before they became public knowledge.

Shearson/American Express 

Shearson/American Express was another Wall Street brokerage firm that was implicated in the R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal. The firm was accused of receiving inside information from Winans and then trading on it.

The Wall Street Journal 

The Wall Street Journal was the newspaper that employed R. Foster Winans as a columnist. It was through his column that he was able to share inside information with his readers, which was then used to make profitable trades.


The prosecution in the R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal was vigorous and resulted in Winans being found guilty of all charges. The prosecution argued that Winans had misused his position as a financial reporter at the Wall Street Journal to pass on insider information to his accomplices before it was published in the newspaper. As a result, they were able to make substantial profits on stock trades.

Winans was charged with nine counts of securities fraud, five counts of mail fraud, and one count of conspiracy. He was also charged with perjury for lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when questioned about his involvement in the scheme.

At trial, the prosecution presented evidence that Winans had provided his accomplices with information about stocks that would be mentioned in his newspaper column. They also argued that Winans had misrepresented his involvement in the scheme, claiming that he had never been aware of his accomplices’ trading activities.

The jury found Winans guilty of all charges in 1985. He was sentenced to three years in prison and was fined $30,000. Winans’s conviction was later overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1987. However, the charges were reinstated in 1989 and Winans was again found guilty. He was sentenced to time served, which amounted to 18 months in prison.

The Impact On The Financial World

R. Foster Winans was a Wall Street Journal reporter who was convicted of insider trading in 1985. He was accused of using his position to leak sensitive market-moving information before it was published in the Wall Street Journal so that he and two of his associates could profit from the information. This case had a major impact on the financial world, as it was the first major insider trading scandal in the United States.

The case spurred the creation of the Insider Trading Sanctions Act of 1984, which made insider trading a federal offense. This law allowed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to impose civil penalties on those found guilty of insider trading, while also allowing the Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges.

The R. Foster Winans case also caused a dramatic shift in the way that financial news is reported. The Journal implemented a Chinese wall between its news and editorial departments to prevent any further insider trading. The Wall Street Journal also implemented a number of new procedures to protect its sources and prevent the misuse of information.

R. Foster Winans Case

The R. Foster Winans case also served as a wake-up call for other financial journalists. The case highlighted the importance of ethical journalism practices, and many other financial journalists adopted stricter practices and protocols for reporting sensitive information.

Finally, the case also had a major impact on the financial markets. It made investors warier about insider trading and heightened awareness of the need for compliance with securities laws. As a result, the SEC and other regulatory bodies have become more aggressive in their enforcement of securities laws and regulations.

Overall, the R. Foster Winans insider trading case had a major impact on the financial world. It changed the way financial news is reported, increased awareness of the need for compliance with securities laws, and made investors warier of insider trading.


R. Foster Winans was the first person to be convicted of insider trading, and his case has served as a warning to investors ever since. His case has demonstrated that insider trading is a serious offense and that those who partake in it can face serious penalties. As the importance of financial regulation increases, the need to protect investors from insider trading remains paramount. Ultimately, R. Foster Winans’ story serves as a reminder of the importance of investing responsibly and ethically.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal?

The R. Foster Winans insider trading scandal is a case from the 1980s in which Winans, a financial columnist for the Wall Street Journal, was accused of leaking confidential information from the newspaper to two Wall Street traders in order to benefit from illegal trading.

2. What happened in the Winans insider trading scandal?

Winans was accused of leaking advance information on the stocks and bonds he was covered in the Wall Street Journal in order to make illegal profits. He was convicted of securities fraud and served a prison sentence.

3. Who was involved in the Winans insider trading scandal?

R. Foster Winans was the main figure in the scandal. Two Wall Street traders, Kenneth Felis, and Robert M. Freeman were also accused of participating in the scheme.

4. What was the outcome of the Winans insider trading scandal?

Winans was convicted of securities fraud and sentenced to prison in 1985. The two traders involved were also convicted and sentenced to prison.

5. What legal precedents were set by the Winans insider trading scandal?

The case established the precedent that insider trading involving the media was illegal, and that journalists had a duty to protect their sources. It also established that traders were responsible for their own actions and could not hide behind the media when engaging in illegal activity.

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