NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A San Diego man has pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in New York in a government crackdown on expert networking firm consultants who give illegal stock tips to hedge funds.

Walter Shimoon entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan. The former senior director of business development at Flextronics International became the 12th defendant convicted in the probe. There have been more than a dozen arrests.

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The 39-year-old Shimoon admitted accepting $45,000 from two expert networking firms to provide information to hedge funds and others.

He pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts and one count of securities fraud.

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Although the charges carry potential penalties of up to 30 years in prison, prosecutors have promised to ask for leniency if he fully cooperates in their probe.

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