After a three-year investigation, federal authorities are reportedly preparing insider-trading charges against consultants, investment bankers, hedge-fund and mutual-fund traders, and analysts across the nation, to drop before year-end. Authorities say that when (slash if) this mega-story lands, it could top the impact on the financial industry of any previous such investigation, involving illegal profits totaling tens of millions of dollars. Details are still scant, but among the networks being examined is Primary Global Research LLC, for passing along nonpublic information, and Goldman Sachs bankers, for leaking information about transactions in ways that, let's say, "benefited certain investors." Independent analysts and research boutiques also are being examined. So, if you've been insider trading, this is the part where you might get frightened. If you've got nothing to hide, you'll be fine! And if you're a financial journalist, get ready for an amped-up workload.