First Galleon Insider-Trading Defendant Gets 27 Months In Jail

May 24 2010 | 12:19pm ET

The founder of hedge fund New Castle Partners was sentenced to more than two years in prison on Friday for his role in the Galleon Group insider-trading case.

Mark Kurland received 27 months in prison and was ordered to forfeit $900,000 in ill-gotten gains. Kurland pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud in January and is the first person to be sentenced in the case, which has snared a total of 21 people, 11 of whom have pleaded guilty.

Kurland, who worked at New Castle with Danielle Chiesi, Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam’s codefendant, did not cooperate with investigators. But his lawyers had sought a sentence of probation, citing Kurland’s “minor” role in the scandal.

But U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero would have none of it.

“He had a choice as a leader of the financial industry. He could have led by example. Instead, he chose to follow,” the judge chastised. “He became a joiner, surrendering to the spree of the financial market's virtual mob mentality that nearly brought down this country's financial industry in the quest for ever bigger and faster gains.”

“Mr. Kurland's actions, stemming from a recognized leader of the industry, compromised the financial market's integrity at a time of financial crises and widespread concern about corruption, rampant recklessness, and arrogant greed at the highest levels of the industry,” Marrero added.

For his part, Kurland told the judge he was “heartbroken and profoundly ashamed.”

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