Zvi Goffer chose to go to trial while dozens of other defendants in the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading case were grabbing at plea-bargains in the hope they would be treated with some leniency. Goffer was convicted in June 2011 (see our report), and he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
And that sentence is too long for Goffer, a former trader at Rajaratnam’s Galleon Group hedge fund, Goffer’s lawyer is arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
“At the end of the day, we really want a reduction in the sentence,” Goffer’s lawyer, Alexander Dudelson, said in a phone interview with David Glovin of Bloomberg.
Rajaratnam became a billionaire through legitimate investments, but that wasn’t enough for him, prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleged. In 2011, they convicted Rajaratnam of conspiracy and securities fraud, partly on the basis of testimony from people with previously impeccable reputations who told of passing inside information to him.
Rajaratnam, whom prosecutors portrayed as “the face of insider trading” and a mastermind of a widespread scheme, got 11 years in prison. And Zvi Goffer, whose name and face are not nearly as well known, got just one year less — which is not fair, Dudelson argues.
But prosecutors take a different view, as Glovin noted in his Bloomberg report. “Goffer set up an entire criminal infrastructure for insider trading activity; carried out that activity for a period of more than a year; and paid cash bribes to lawyers,” prosecutors argued in a brief. They have noted that Goffer’s sentence for fraud and conspiracy was well within guidelines.
And, not incidentally, Goffer did not grab a plea-bargain when he might have. So, as he sits in a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., he must look forward to another seven or eight years in prison, unless the Second Circuit is persuaded by Dudelson.