Rajat Gupta Gets Two-Year Sentence for Insider Trading

October 25, 2012

Bloomberg on October 24, 2012 released the following:

“By Patricia Hurtado, David Glovin and Bob Van Voris

Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) director Rajat Gupta was sentenced to two years in prison for insider trading, marking the downfall of a man who rose to the top of corporate America after being orphaned as an 18-year-old in Kolkata.

Gupta, who ran McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan for leaking stock tips to Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam. Gupta, 63, was convicted in June of securities fraud and conspiracy. He is set to report to prison on Jan. 8. He was also fined $5 million.

The evidence that Gupta passed illegal information about Goldman Sachs to Rajaratnam was “not only overwhelming, it was disgusting in its implications,” Rakoff said in court today before handing down the sentence.

Prosecutors had sought a prison term for Gupta of as long as 10 years. Gupta requested probation and community service, and his lawyer had proposed that he work with needy children in New York or the poor in Rwanda.

In his 17 years as a judge, Rakoff has sentenced at least nine defendants other than Gupta for insider trading, including seven who pleaded guilty and two whom he jailed after they were found guilty by juries. Rakoff has a track record of imposing sentences that are half what the government recommends.

Insider Probes

From Jan. 1, 2011 to July of this year, federal judges in Manhattan sent the average insider-trading violator to prison for more than 22 months, according to an analysis of sentencing data by Bloomberg News. That was a 20 percent increase from the average term of 18.4 months during the previous eight years.

Over the same 18-month period, the average sentence after trial was 58 months, compared with 22 months during the same time for 18 defendants who pleaded guilty. Of the dozen defendants who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. insider-trading probe during that time, 11 avoided prison altogether. One got six months.

“With today’s sentence, Rajat Gupta now must face the grave consequences of his crime — a term of imprisonment,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “His conduct has forever tarnished a once-sterling reputation that took years to cultivate.”

‘Innovative’ Proposal’

During today’s hearing, Rakoff said the Rwanda community service proposal was “very innovative.”

“I thought, ah, this was the Peace Corps for insider traders,” the judge said to Gupta’s lawyer, Gary Naftalis. “But I think if everything you told me about Mr. Gupta’s character is correct, and I think it is, he would be doing this regardless of a court order or not. So looking at it in a cynical kind of way, it is not punishment.”

Before he was sentenced, Gupta told the judge that “I lost my reputation that I built over a lifetime. The last 18 months have been the most challenging period of my life since my parents died when I was a teenager.”

Gupta served on the boards of Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) and AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) and won praise for his charity from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chairman Bill Gates and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. As McKinsey’s youngest managing director, he almost tripled the firm’s revenue.

Helped ‘Many’

Gupta’s life “has been an extraordinary one,” Naftalis said today in court. He said his client has made “extraordinary contributions that have tangibly helped many, many people on this planet.” His crimes are a “total aberration in an otherwise laudatory life.”

Gupta was convicted by a jury of leaking tips to Rajaratnam, his friend and business partner, about New York- based Goldman Sachs. Gupta leaked information including a $5 billion investment by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/B) on Sept. 23, 2008, and a tip on a quarterly loss.

The jury acquitted Gupta of charges that he leaked information that Cincinnati-based P&G’s organic sales growth would fall below estimates and that he tipped Rajaratnam, 55, about Goldman Sachs’s earnings in the first quarter of 2007.

Unlike the Rajaratnam prosecution, which was based on dozens of wiretaps of his mobile-phone conversations, the case against Gupta was circumstantial and built on trading records, business relationships and comments by Rajaratnam or others about Galleon’s sources of information. The jury heard one wiretapped conversation between Gupta and Rajaratnam. Naftalis told the judge today that he would challenge Rakoff’s decision to admit the recording and other evidentiary rulings he made during the trial on appeal.

The case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Gupta to Urge Probation From Judge Who Once Defended Insiders

October 22, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“Patricia Hurtado and David Glovin, ©2012 Bloomberg News

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) — As a lawyer, Jed Rakoff once persuaded a judge to give probation to a client convicted at an insider-trading trial alongside former Wall Street Journal reporter R. Foster Winans. Now a federal judge himself, Rakoff must weigh Rajat Gupta’s similar request to stay out of prison.

Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director, will come before Rakoff in Manhattan federal court on Oct. 24 to be sentenced for leaking stock tips to Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam. Prosecutors say Gupta, convicted by a jury in June, deserves as long as 10 years in prison. Gupta seeks probation.

Gary Naftalis, a lawyer for Gupta, argued his client’s crime was an “aberrational” event in a “lifetime of good works” that merited a punishment for a man who has suffered an extraordinary fall from grace. He asked Rakoff to impose a term of community service, suggesting Gupta work with troubled youth in New York or with the poor in Rwanda.

“Good works help, but on their own they are rarely a ‘Get out of jail free card,’” said Gordon Mehler, a former federal prosecutor who’s now in private practice in New York. “So, it seems as if probation, even in Rwanda, is unlikely.”

Gupta, 63, is the most prominent of 70 people convicted since a nationwide insider-trading crackdown by U.S. prosecutors began four years ago. Gupta also served as managing partner of McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003 and on the board of Procter & Gamble Co. from 2007 to March 2011, when he also resigned from the boards of Goldman Sachs, AMR Corp. and two other companies.

Buffett’s Berkshire

After a four-week trial in June, jurors found Gupta guilty of tipping Rajaratnam about dealings at New York-based Goldman Sachs, including a $5 billion investment by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Rajaratnam, 55, is serving 11 years in prison for trading on tips from Gupta and others.

In his 17 years as a judge, Rakoff has sentenced at least nine defendants for insider trading, including seven who pleaded guilty and two whom he jailed after they were found guilty by juries. Rakoff has a track record of imposing a sentence that is half what the government recommends.

“If there is any judge who’s sensitive to the draconian impact of the sentencing guidelines with respect to white-collar offenders, it’s Judge Rakoff,” said J. Bruce Maffeo, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. “That being said, he’s equally sensitive to the need to fashion a sentence that takes into account both the defendant’s personal background and the need to deter others in the financial world, where this kind of activity appears to be more prevalent than previously assumed.”

Winning Leniency

Rakoff, a former federal prosecutor in New York who headed the office’s securities-fraud unit, was a white-collar criminal- defense lawyer before taking the bench.

As a defense lawyer, Rakoff won leniency for a client convicted of insider trading who was also facing prison.

Rakofff’s client, David Carpenter, went on trial in 1985 with his lover, journalist R. Foster Winans, and broker Kenneth Felis. Prosecutors said Winans leaked tips to Felis about forthcoming market-moving articles in his “Heard on the Street” column, Felis traded on the news and Carpenter allowed Winans to place trades through his account. All were convicted. Carpenter died in 1991.

Wife, Husband

At the sentencing, Rakoff compared Carpenter’s relationship with Winans to that of wife-and-husband and said Carpenter merely acquiesced to Winans’ trades, according to Winans’s lawyer, Don Buchwald. Carpenter got probation while Winans was given an 18-month prison term.

“He was following Foster,” Buchwald said in a phone interview last week. “Carpenter was a very sympathetic figure.”

This week, Gupta will be seeking sympathy of a different sort from Rakoff. Gupta’s lawyer, Naftalis, said in a court filing that Gupta deserves probation because his crime was an aberration in a life “defined by helping others.”

Naftalis cited Gupta’s work as chairman of the Global Fund, an initiative to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as his work with the United Nations to improve world health. Naftalis declined to comment on a comparison of the Gupta and Carpenter cases. The defense submitted more than 400 letters to the judge describing Gupta’s accomplishments.

In their pre-sentencing court filings, prosecutors gave a different portrait of Gupta and asked Rakoff to consider the personal relationship between Gupta and Rajaratnam.

‘Very Close Friend’

In asking for a term of 97 months to 121 months, which they say are called for by U.S. sentencing guidelines, prosecutors say Gupta violated confidences and breached his duty as a senior corporate official by leaking news to his “very close friend” and business partner.

“Gupta’s interests often were aligned with those of Rajaratnam and Galleon such that Gupta stood to benefit if Galleon was successful,” prosecutors wrote in a filing, citing Gupta’s investment in Galleon and their partnership in another investment fund.

Richard Holwell, the former federal judge who presided over Rajaratnam’s trial and sentenced the fund manager, said judges consider “general deterrence,” or whether the sentence they impose will deter others from committing similar crimes.

“The nature and circumstances of the crime weigh in the government’s favor, because insider trading is a serious white- collar crime that undermines the integrity of the markets” said Holwell, who is now in private practice.

Deterrence

“The government will lean on general deterrence because insider trading has to be eradicated and one way to do that is by taking highly visible cases and making examples of them,” Holwell said. “That will weigh heavily on Rakoff.”

Other criminal defense lawyers said Gupta’s fall from grace may work in his favor. Kevin O’Brien, a former federal prosecutor in New York, said the judge must weigh Gupta’s achievements against his crimes.

“There is human drama there,” O’Brien said. “You can make the argument that for a guy like this who was on top of the world to have fallen so low and to have been so humiliated and exposed by a lengthy public trial, that is punishment enough.”

“What is smart about the Rwanda option is that it makes vivid Gupta’s commitment to public service and brings out with some clarity his history of good deeds,” he said. “It’s a creative approach.”

‘Mirage’ Guidelines

Federal sentencing guidelines are advisory. Rakoff’s history has been one of imposing sentences well below the recommended federal guidelines, which he has called a “mirage of something that can be obtained with arithmetic certainty.”

Last year, he sentenced James Fleishman, a former executive at expert-networking firm Primary Global Research LLC, to 2 1/2 years in prison for passing tips to fund managers while the guidelines called for more than seven years. He also ordered Primary Global consultant Winifred Jiau to serve 48 months for selling information. Her guidelines suggested a term of 78 months to 97 months in prison.

Still, Rakoff has rarely been silent about the contempt he has for insider traders, often expressing his sentiments in open court. In Fleishman’s case, he said insider prosecutions over “the last 30 or 40 years” have not “done enough to deter this serious and sophisticated crime.”

With Jiau, whose scheme ran for two years, he said the leaks undermined “the integrity of the financial markets” and demanded a “meaningful sentence.”

Maffeo said he believes Rakoff will impose some term of incarceration upon Gupta.

Love Families

Rakoff has demanded prison in cases in which, unlike Gupta, the defendants have admitted trafficking in illicit information. He sentenced ex-SAC Capital Advisors LP manager Donald Longueuil to 30 months instead of the 46 months to 57 months urged by the guidelines. He ordered a former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. manager to spend 18 months behind bars.

“Why is it that defendants always remember how much they love their families after they’ve committed the crimes that place that relationship in jeopardy?” Rakoff said at the sentencing of former Galleon trader Adam Smith, who won probation largely because he cooperated with prosecutors and testified against Rajaratnam.

Rakoff imposed an 18-month prison term on Manosha Karunatilaka, a former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. manager who pleaded guilty to passing nonpublic information about his company’s orders to fund managers as part of an insider-trading scheme. Karunatilaka cooperated with the U.S. and accepted responsibility for his crimes.

Crying Infant

As Karunatilaka’s infant child cried in the courtroom, Rakoff rejected a bid by defense lawyer Brad Bailey to impose a term of six months’ in prison and six months of home confinement.

Gupta, after two days of deliberations by a jury, was found guilty of three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy. The tips came in September and October 2008 and concerned Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs and the bank’s losses in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Jurors acquitted Gupta of charges that he leaked information that Cincinnati-based P&G’s organic sales growth would fall below estimates and that he tipped Rajaratnam about Goldman Sachs’s earnings in the first quarter of 2007.

In his filing, Naftalis argued that Gupta deserves leniency because his crimes were limited to a two-month period in 2008.

Peter Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, said Rakoff will focus on the nature of the crime and Gupta’s background. Henning predicted that the former Goldman Sachs director will get a prison term of two years to three years.

“That’s not a deleterious prison term, but it is prison and it doesn’t mean he will get a free pass,” Henning said in a phone interview. “It has to be a term to get everyone’s attention, and by everyone, I mean Wall Street.”

The case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-00907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Edwards Verdict Shows Clemens Need Not Fear Taint Of Reputation

June 4, 2012

Bloomberg on June 3, 2012 released the following:

“By David Glovin

Jurors tend to look past a criminal defendant’s reputation, no matter how odious, to render verdicts based on fact and law, lawyers said after former presidential candidate John Edwards won an acquittal and mistrial last week.

Federal jurors in Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 31 acquitted Edwards of one charge of using illegal campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair and couldn’t decide about five other counts. They did so after hearing evidence that Edwards cheated on his dying wife and lied to the public about fathering a child with his paramour.

The verdict sends an encouraging signal to Roger Clemens, the former Major League Baseball pitcher now on trial in Washington for lying to Congress about his use of steroids, said Douglas Godfrey, a professor who teaches criminal law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

“While we would all acknowledge that Edwards and Clemens are not nice guys and they behaved in very bad ways, that’s not the same as violating the law,” Godfrey said in a telephone interview. “Just because you’re an arrogant SOB or philanderer, that’s not the same as committing a crime.”

Edwards’s acquittal and mistrial came 11 months after a Florida jury acquitted Casey Anthony, an Orlando mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, and 22 years after a New York City jury rendered a not guilty verdict in the racketeering case of Imelda Marcos, the former Philippines first lady ridiculed for owning more than 1,000 pair of shoes. In those cases and others, public opinion had turned so harshly against the defendants that a conviction seemed almost an afterthought.

Then the jury weighed in.

Jury Speaks

“It’s a great affirmation of our jury system that people like Casey Anthony and John Edwards, who are personally unlikable and in many ways despicable, can still sit in front of a jury of 12 people and have those 12 people judge them based on the evidence,” said Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Edwards, a former Democratic U.S. senator from North Carolina and presidential contender in 2008, was accused of violating campaign finance laws by accepting almost $1 million from multimillionaire heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron, a now-deceased trial attorney, to conceal an affair. The case marked the first time the government prosecuted someone for campaign violations when money was paid to a third party.

Jurors deliberated for nine days before reaching their partial verdict. They couldn’t agree on counts that included a claim that Edwards conspired to protect his candidacy by secretly soliciting and accepting the funds and causing his campaign to file false reports with the Federal Election Commission.

He’s unlikely to be retried, a person familiar with the matter said last week.

Adultery, Arrogance

Except for the defendants’ notoriety — Edwards for adultery and Clemens for arrogance — the two cases have few similarities, said Stefan Passantino, who heads the political law team at McKenna Long & Aldridge in Washington. Lying to Congress, which Clemens is accused of, is a far more established crime than the conduct for which Edwards was on trial, he said.

Still, both defendants have had to confront the prospect that jurors would convict because of their reputations. The Edwards jury didn’t, in part because defense lawyers shifted the focus to ex-campaign aide Andrew Young, who acted as a go- between on transactions involving Mellon and Baron and used some of their money to build his own $1.5 million home.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell also addressed the character issue head-on.

‘Moral Wrongs’

“John Edwards may have committed many moral wrongs but he did not commit a legal one,” Lowell told jurors during his closing argument. “He was a bad husband and lied to his family but there is not a remote chance that he violated campaign finance laws or committed a felony.”

Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor who is now at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Los Angeles, said jurors were attentive enough to the case’s nuances to see past Edwards’s reputation.

“Perceptions about personalities don’t govern verdicts,” he said. “In Edwards, personality didn’t rule.”

While Clemens is a seven-time Cy Young Award winner as the best pitcher in his league, he also ranks 14th in Major League Baseball for hitting 159 batters with pitches during his career.

Hurled Bat

Lawyers for Clemens, whose reputation for abrasiveness grew after he hurled a bat at an opposing player and because of his performance before Congress, have been taking a page from Edwards’s book. The ex-pitcher’s defense has been focused on tearing down the credibility of the government’s only eyewitness, Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former trainer.

McNamee testified he gave Clemens injections of steroids and human-growth hormone.

Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, got McNamee to admit he’d lied to federal investigators and accused him of alcohol abuse and engaging in a fraudulent scheme to obtain diet pills.

“The facts are very different, the personalities are different,” Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor who’s now a partner with McCarter & English LLP in Newark, New Jersey, said of the Clemens and Edwards cases.

‘Positive Message’

“But if there’s any positive message that Clemens can draw out of the Edwards verdict, it’s that jurors will look beyond whatever antipathy they may feel regarding their personal conduct and do their best to make a decision based solely on the facts and law presented to them at the trial,” Mintz said in a telephone interview.

Jacob Frenkel, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who is now with Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker PA in Potomac, Maryland, said it’s proven lying, and not reputation, that puts many celebrity defendants behind bars. He pointed to Martha Stewart, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2004 for obstructing justice by lying to prosecutors, and baseball player Barry Bonds, the career home-run record-holder who was convicted last year of obstructing justice for deceiving a grand jury.

Clemens is accused of obstructing justice and perjury.

“It is the acts of lying or obstruction that often are the downfall,” Frankel said in a telephone interview.

It’s not only Clemens who may take comfort in the Edwards verdict, said Michael Kendall, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery in Boston and a former federal prosecutor. In New York, Rajat Gupta, who was once a director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and who ran McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003, is defending against charges that he leaked inside information to hedge fund co-founder Raj Rajaratnam.

Public Hostility

If Edwards could win an acquittal, so might Gupta, even amid public hostility to bankers and Wall Street in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, he said.

“There are a thousand ways to derail a prosecution,” Kendall said in a telephone interview. “There’s an incredible common sense in collective good judgment in the jury system.”

The Edwards case is U.S. v. Edwards, 11-cr-161, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro). The Clemens case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The Gupta case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.