Soon, Martoma was heading to Stanford. His educational about-face accompanied a choice in 2001 to legally change his name, a decision Green believes Martoma made to return to his Indian roots.
Martoma gained a reputation as a stand-up guy in business school, said Saar Gur, a venture capitalist who was a classmate of Martoma's at Stanford.
"Personally, I would not have expected this sort of thing from the Mat that I knew 10 years ago," Gur said. "To me he seemed really nice, very smart and ethical. <t40>...<t$> Did the situation and SAC push him over the edge? I have no idea. Obviously I hope he is not guilty."
In 2003, Martoma married a pediatrician who shared his Indian background. He took a job as a junior analyst for Sirios Capital Management LP in Boston, where the couple lived in luxury high-rises in posh parts of downtown.
Martoma began a four-year stint in 2006 with Connecticut-based SAC affiliate CR Intrinsic Investors LLC, first as an analyst and then as a hedge fund portfolio manager specializing in the health care sector.
A few summers ago, Green, the Dartmouth professor, caught up with his former NIH assistant in a house the Martomas rented on Cape Cod. While they didn't talk much about business, Green said, Martoma told him he was working in the venture capital field.
"I knew that Mathew was in a high-stakes world; that was clear to me," Green said.
Prosecutors say Martoma began meeting with University of Michigan medical professor Sidney Gilman in 2006 through an expert consulting service in New York City. They say that between then and 2008, the physician leaked Martoma confidential information about a joint drug trial by pharmaceutical companies Elan Corp. and Wyeth.
Gilman's lawyer has said his client is cooperating with authorities and has reached a non-prosecution agreement with federal officials.
With the secret data, prosecutors say, Martoma caused other investment advisers to at first buy shares in the drug companies, then ditch them and place financial bets against the companies when he found out before the public that the drug trial's final outcome was negative. Authorities say Martoma made $9 million in bonus pay for the year when the trades were made.
Martoma's lawyer Charles Stillman has said his client, now free on $5 million bail put up by his in-laws, succeeded because of his dogged pursuit of information in the public domain.
"I would say, having studied ethics in the biomed area, that he is keenly aware of what's right and what's wrong, and we do not believe he stepped across the line," Stillman said.
Martoma will stay at his Boca Raton home with his wife and children, apart from required court appearances for his case in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the lawyer said. Martoma has been working on independent projects since CR Intrinsic let him go in 2010, but he wouldn't be more specific about the work.
Martoma's arrest marked the fourth time authorities have arrested someone from SAC on insider trading charges in the past four years. A company spokesman has said the company and its owner "acted appropriately" and will cooperate with the government's probe.