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William Duer
Year: 1792

Insider trading has a long history. William Duer, a British-born speculator, was the first to use inside information to game the markets. Duer was appointed by Alexander Hamilton as the assistant secretary of the Treasury. He quit the job, but used his inside intel to speculate on bank stocks. Then, in 1792, an audit of his treasury books turned up $238,000 of missing money. The government sued him for the sum, taking down Duer's financial empire, and much of the New York Stock Exchange, causing the country's first market crash.

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Last updated May 28 2010: 3:42 PM ET
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