Fallen Wall Street tycoon Rajat Gupta was today sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a USD five million fine by a US judge who termed Indian-American's insider trading crimes as "disgusting" and a "terrible breach of trust".
Gupta, 63 was also ordered by US District Judge Jed Rakoff to serve a year of supervised release after the end of his prison term.
The IIT and Harvard-educated former Goldman Sachs director would have to surrender to a designated prison on January 8, 2013. Rakoff denied Gupta's request to remain free on bail while he appeals his case.
A court could have taken about two years or more to rule on Gupta's appeal.
While the judge agreed to a request from Gupta's lawyers that he be assigned to New York's medium-security prison in Otisville, the final decision rests with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Dressed in a dark blue suit, Gupta looked tensed and appeared to hold back tears as his sentencing proceedings began in Manhattan federal court here yesterday. He sat expressionless as Rakoff read the 15-page sentence at the end of the hearing which lasted over two and a half hours.
Gupta's sentencing comes exactly a year after he was charged with securities and conspiracy fraud, for which he had faced a maximum sentence of 25 years and marks a stunning fall from grace for the Indian-American who rose through the ranks to become one of the most prominent titans on Wall Street.
Rakoff, who on multiple occasions gave Gupta credit for his life of philanthropic works, said at the heart of Gupta's offenses is his "egregious breach of trust."
"He is a good man," Rakoff said.
"But the history of this country and the history of the world is full of examples of good men who did bad things."
Rakoff said the evidence that Gupta passed illegal information about Goldman Sachs to now-jailed hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam was "not only overwhelming, it was disgusting in its implications... It was a terrible breach of trust."
Gupta, the most high profile Wall Street executive to be convicted in the government's crackdown on insider trading, had sought leniency from the judge, citing his otherwise unblemished career and philanthropic works.
In a memorandum filed in federal court last week, Gupta's lawyer Gary Naftalis had sought probation for his Harvard educated client, saying Gupta is willing to live in Rwanda and work with the local government on health care and agricultural initiatives.
The second offer of community service made by Naftalis was that Gupta could work with Covenant House's New York site, which provides emergency shelter and other services for homeless, runaway and at risk youth.
Bharara had sought a prison term of 8-10 years for Gupta, arguing that his "shocking" crimes were not an "isolated occurrence or a momentary lapse in judgement and " a significant term of imprisonment is necessary to reflect the seriousness of Gupta's crimes and to deter other corporate insiders in similar positions of trust from stealing corporate secrets and engaging in a crime that has become far too common."
The Diwali of 2011 saw Gupta surrender himself before the FBI after charges of insider trading were filed against him.
Gupta's rise through the ranks of Corporate America was stellar with enviable posts like board seats at Goldman Sachs and Procter and Gamble, co-founder of the prestigious Indian School of Business, adviser to the executive leadership of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as also the United Nations dotting his resume. He was also a director of the AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines.
Gupta had also been getting support from family members, prominent business leaders and global philanthropic figures including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who are among the 400 people who have written letters to Rakoff detailing Gupta's charitable work.