Ex-NY lawyer: Wall Street envy led him to crime

By the Associated Press | May 19, 2011 | 6:59 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York lawyer disbarred after he pleaded guilty to insider trading charges has testified that envy of Wall Street salaries motivated him to join what the government says became the biggest hedge fund insider trading ring ever.

Brien Santarlas (SAN-tahr-less) testified Thursday at the trial of two stock-trading brothers and a lawyer. The one-time attorney at the corporate firm Ropes & Gray said lawyers were making good money but it seemed like nothing compared to what was being made on Wall Street.

Santarlas said he made a deal to steal secrets about public companies from the files of other lawyers at his firm so he could pass stock tips to a trader willing to pay money for secrets. He said he accepted $25,000 in cash after his first big tip.