Former Goldman Sachs trader Brijesh Goel, who was convicted of insider trading and obstruction, was handed down a sentence of 3 years in prison yesterday.
Goel was sentenced on Wednesday in Manhattan by US District Judge P. Kevin Castel and had been found guilty by a federal jury in June. He is to surrender into custody on January 9, 2024, according to Bloomberg.
The sentence was less that what prosecutors were asking for: 41 to 51 months. Goel had pleaded with the judge for no jail time, arguing that deportation back to India would be “punishment enough”.
“You took the stand right in this chair and you lied again and again and again,” the judge said to Goel about his conduct during the trial.
In pleading for no prison time earlier this year, Goel remarked: “I failed in my responsibility to adhere to the proper level of care required for guarding non-public material information I received in my position at the firm. I am extremely sorry, first and foremost to Goldman Sachs for failing at the duties I was entrusted with.”
He continued: “The saddest part was that I didn’t even need the additional money. I earned a good living and enjoyed a comfortable life. Regardless, I committed a crime and must pay the price.”
“A custodial sentence would be a dramatically harsher punishment for Mr. Goel than for a US citizen convicted of the same offenses,” his lawyers remarked at the time.
Recall, we covered Goel’s trial this summer, where his friend turned on him and testified against him about his scheme that netted $280,000 from insider trades. His former literal partner in crime, 34 year old Akshay Niranjan, had recorded him and wore a wire, before testifying against him, to save his own hide.
Niranjan’s testimony helped a jury return a guilty verdict in June. Bloomberg, who reported on the verdict, called it a “sad little Wall Street melodrama”.
The scheme saw Goel passing tips from his job at Goldman Sachs, originating from the firm’s confidential deal memos, to Niranjan.
Feds eventually got wise to the scheme and visited both men before Niranjan flipped on his former friend. The two met to discuss their plan of action in a stairwell of a building where they both lived, but Niranjan was recording the entire encounter. Goel’s lawyer called his former fried a “judas” and a “Benedict Arnold”, but the jury wasn’t swayed and returned a guilty verdict.
Niranjan eventually testified that the two were “very close” and said at first, he thought Goel was just a great stock picker. It was after the fact that he realized he was being tipped with inside information.
“He got a lot of the trades too correct,” Niranjan said on the stand during the trial. Goel eventually took the stand in his own defense, trying to claim to the jury that he had “panicked” in deleting texts between the two men and trying to cover up the conversations, which took place in English, Hindi and “personal code”, the report says.
“I thought he had done something stupid. And I thought because of his stupidity, he’s going to be in trouble, and I’m going to be in trouble too,” Goel told the jury. “There was a lapse of judgement”.