On Wednesday, September 21, two defendants who were convicted of conspiracy and insider trading charges in separate trials earlier this year were sentenced in federal court in New York. Zvi Goffer, who formerly worked at with the Schottenfeld Group LLC (part of Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon Group), was sentenced to ten years in prison, while Winifred Jiau, a consultant at Primary Global Research LLC (an expert networking firm), received a four year sentence. Like many of the recent high-profile insider trading cases, the Government's evidence included wiretapped telephone conversations between the participants in both cases. DOJ and the SEC continue to vigorously pursue and punish those participating in insider trading cases.
As previously discussed here, Mr. Goffer, who was convicted in June, was nicknamed "Octopussy" due to the number of connections he had. The Government charged him for paying attorneys Arthur Cutillo and Brien Santarlas, (formerly of the Ropes & Gray law firm) for inside information regarding mergers and acquisitions of public companies represented by the law firm. The 120-month sentence handed down on Wednesday is just below the length requested by the Government in a filing last week (where DOJ advocated a sentence within the Guidelines range of 121 to 151 months’ imprisonment).
As discussed here, Ms. Jiau was convicted in June of one count of conspiracy and one count of securities fraud for selling data regarding detailed financial earnings and other information she obtained through social relationships with sources from the finance departments at publicly traded companies. The 48-month sentence handed down on Wednesday fell well short of what the Government sought in a brief last week, where it argued that a sentence within or near the applicable Guidelines sentencing range of 97 to 121 months was appropriate.
With respect to Mr. Goffer, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that his "sentence is a fitting conclusion to yet another sordid chapter in the illegal insider trading conspiracies that have become so alarmingly pervasive. Unfortunately, it is not the final chapter." Two examples of these open "chapters" relating to Mr. Rajaratnam's Galleon Group were discussed in the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, in yesterday's post:
- Raj Rajaratnam (whose May conviction is discussed here) is scheduled to learn his fate on September 27, where the Government has argued for a 24-year sentence (which defendants have argued is "grotesquely severe"); and
- Rajat Gutpa may yet be named in an Indictment and will very likely face civil charges from the SEC (who previously agreed to dismiss the administrative proceeding against him, but reserved the right to sue him in federal court, as discussed here).
DOJ does not appear to be done in the expert network field either, where James Fleishman, another consultant at Ms. Jiau's company, was convicted on Tuesday of conspiracy charges in connection with a scheme to provide material, nonpublic information to the Firm's clients.