NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A former Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble Co. board member convicted of insider trading will serve two years in prison, it was announced Wednesday afternoon. He was also fined $5 million.
Prosecutors had sought up to 10 years in prison, while the defense had argued for a sentence of community service.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports from Manhattan Federal Court
Rajat Gupta was sentenced for his role in a mammoth insider trading case that prosecutors say was the largest in history. Already, former billionaire hedge fund owner Raj Rajaratnam – a onetime close friend of Gupta originally from Sri Lanka – is serving 11 years in prison for earning up to $75 million illegally.
“The history of the world is full of good men who do bad things,” U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff told Gupta at sentencing. “But it doesn’t mean good deeds don’t deserve any credit.”
Gupta is among 25 people convicted in the insider trading case that has relied heavily on wiretaps and cooperation from many of the accused.
At sentencing, Gupta said he regretting his actions, noting his actions destroyed the good name he spent a lifetime building.
“I regret terribly the impact of this matter on my family, my friends and the institutions that are dear to me. I’ve lost my reputation I built for a lifetime. The verdict was devastating.”
Prosecutors argued that Gupta belongs behind bars too while defense lawyers said it would be a disservice to humanity to send him to prison when he could be helping the world.
They cite in a pre-sentencing brief his many good works and the Rwandan government’s support for a program in which Gupta would work with rural districts to battle HIV, malaria, extreme poverty and to help provide food security. The lawyers say the Rwandan government would join with a U.S.-based organization already working in the country to ensure effective supervision of Gupta’s service.
“He was a role model and icon,” defense attorney Gary Naftalis said. “He is no more.”
They also had argued that prison would spoil the efforts by Gupta, who was born in Kolkata, India, to develop new initiatives, including the Urban Institute of India, meant to bring the private sector, academia and the Indian government together to address accelerating migration to India’s cities. The more than 400 letters written to the judge on Gupta’s behalf included documents signed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
“The conduct for which he was convicted represents an isolated aberration and a stark departure from this personal history,” the lawyers wrote.
Prosecutors said Gupta showed “above-the-law arrogance” in feeding Rajaratnam inside tips between March 2007 and January 2009, sometimes within seconds of learning the information, and Rajaratnam used the tips to make more than $11 million in illegal profits for him and his investors.
“Gupta’s crimes are shocking,” the government wrote. “Gupta’s crimes are extraordinarily serious and damaging to the capital markets. — It understandably fuels cynicism among the investing public that Wall Street is rigged and that Wall Street professionals unfairly exploit privileged access to information. This is particularly troubling at a time when there is widespread concern about corruption, greed and recklessness at the highest levels of the financial services industry.”
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