The recent indictment of four brokers and a floor clerk by federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission over the infamous "squawk-box case," has brought to light a troubling and persistent reality on Wall Street: Big institutional investors run the risk every day that their orders will somehow be leaked and it will open the door for others to profit by snatching up the best stock prices before the behemoths' trades can be executed.

After those big blocks of institutional trades are executed, an Aug. 23 Wall Street Journal report indicates, the profiteers promptly sell off the share for a tidy sum, and the final victims are everyday mutual fund investors and pension beneficiaries whose money is overseen by the Street's largest trading customers.

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