October 24, 2012; Source: Financial Times

Yesterday, Rajat Gupta was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $5 million for insider trading from his perch at Goldman Sachs. He was convicted in June of this year. NPQ wrote about this case earlier this year when there was speculation that Gupta’s attorney wished to showcase his charitable activities to counter the image of him that was likely to be presented in court. At that time, the New York Times reported that U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff commented, “If Mother Teresa were here and charged with bank robbery, the jury would still have to determine whether or not she committed bank robbery.”

The mercy-for-the-charitable theme carried through to the sentencing, when attorneys for Gupta advocated that their client do community service in lieu of prison time, citing Gupta’s history of philanthropic work on global health issues. No go. But Gupta did luck out a little with his judge in that Rakoff is a critic of sentencing guidelines in the U.S. that he sees as too severe and he has sentenced similar cases below the recommended range.

Gupta was in the upper echelons of big philanthropy, serving as a board member to the Rockefeller Foundation and an advisory committee member to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. –Ruth McCambridge