A former expert consultant to hedge funds will plead not guilty to criminal charges arising from a federal probe of insider trading, his lawyer said.

Don Ching Trang Chu, who once worked at Primary Global Research LLC, was set to appear at a hearing later Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, the lawyer James DeVita, a partner at Day Pitney LLP, told Reuters.

Chu is one of at least 16 people who have been arrested, charged or pleaded guilty since November as part of a federal crackdown on the solicitation of illegal stock tips from consultants working for so-called expert network firms.

These firms help hedge funds obtain information about public companies, often in such areas as healthcare and technology.

Insider trading could result when trades are made on leaked details that are considered material, nonpublic information.

Chu was arrested on conspiracy charges in November.

Prosecutors said the Somerset, New Jersey, resident arranged for hedge funds to receive inside tips on companies including chipmakers Atheros Communications Inc and Broadcom Corp and Canada's Sierra Wireless Inc.

The case is U.S. v. Chu, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-mj-02625.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)