April 19, 2012

A federal judge in New York sentenced the former Schottenfeld Group trader, Gautham Shankar, to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement.

Shankar, 38, who pleaded guilty in October 2009 to a charge of securities fraud and a charge of conspiracy, could face deportation from the United States because he is a citizen of India.

"You cooperated early, you did it wholeheartedly and the government was able to pursue investigations," U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan told Shankar at the sentencing proceeding.

Shankar assisted authorities in cases linked to another trader, Zvi Goffer, who became a principal defendant in one of the so-called Galleon insider-trading networks, part of a broad U.S. government crackdown. Goffer was convicted at trial last year and Sullivan sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment.

Scores of traders, lawyers and executives were charged in the insider-trading prosecutions brought by the FBI and federal prosecutors in New York in October 2009. The most prominent among them was Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam, who was convicted at trial in May last year on evidence mostly based on phone taps. He is serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Shankar wore a wire, or a device to record conversations of six people who were also charged with insider trading. He first met with FBI agents in March 2008 and began assisting them immediately, according to court papers. Other government cooperators have also received non-custodial sentences.

Shankar, who lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, with his wife and 4-1/2 year old son, apologized to the judge and his family at his sentencing proceeding.

The case is USA v Shankar in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-996 (Reporting By Grant McCool; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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