Galleon Group defendants getting 3-year average sentences

Despite fairly lax sentences already handed out, prosecutors want to lock Rajaratnam away for up to 24 ½ years

Want to get busted for insider trading? Despite reports that corporate criminals are seeing tougher sentences these days, the going rate for defendants in the Galleon Group scandal is a cool three-year average term. But that might not be the case for the “modern face of insider trading,” Raj Rajaratnam, when he is sentenced this week for his mastermind role.

Manhattan judges sentenced a pair of other convicted Galleon-linked traders—Zvi Goffer and Winifred Jiau—last month to terms of 10 and four years, respectively. Zvi Goffer’s brother, Emanuel, also received a three-year sentence last Friday.

Manhattan federal court judges have sentenced 13 defendants in Galleon-related cases since Rajaratnam’s arrest in October 2009, Bloomberg reports. While all but two have pleaded guilty, the average term has been 35.8 months. Defendants who are convicted at trial typically receive longer prison terms than those who plead guilty.

Rajaratnam, who was convicted in May on 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud, has been grabbing headlines the past month over the potential length of his sentence. The government is requesting that he be locked up for between 19 ½ and 24 ½ years, but Rajaratnam is calling the punishment “grotesquely severe” and asking for leniency so he doesn’t have to die in prison.

At the end of September, federal prosecutors asked a judge to make Rajaratnam provide additional information about his medical issues. The 54-year-old had experienced various health problems, including a foot surgery that kept him out of court during part of his trial, about which Rajaratnam was somewhat secretive. His lawyers, however, said the request was contrary to procedural rules and legal precedent.

"No defendant should be forced to choose between providing the court with medical information relevant to sentencing and making himself subject to a salacious and morbid media feeding frenzy," Rajaratnam’s lawyers wrote to U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell.

For more on the other Galleon defendants and their sentences, read Bloomberg.

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