Derek Cohen and Robert Herman, both 52, were charged with four counts of securities fraud, the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego said.
Prosecutors said the men invested more than $500,000 in Atheros stock and options after they learned Qualcomm would be buying the company and before the $3.2-billion acquisition was announced.
Cohen was arrested two days ago at
Qualcomm fired the two men in September, prosecutors said.
Authorities alleged that the three men learned through emails and meetings that the San Diego maker of chips and cellphone technology was planning the acquisition of chip maker Atheros.
Authorities alleged that the men bought Atheros securities based on information that had not been made public and cashed in on the surging Atheros stock price.