Gov't. Witness Spared Jail In Goffer Case

Nov 3 2011 | 8:47am ET

Cooperating with prosecutors in the Galleon Group insider-trading case has paid big dividends for David Plate.

The former Schottenfeld Group trader was sentenced to three years' probation and six months' house arrest for his role in the largest insider-trading case in history. Plate pleaded guilty to trading on confidential information about Axcan Pharma, and had faced up to 25 years in prison.

Plate worked with former Galleon trader Zvi Goffer, Goffer's brother Emmanuel and Michael Kimelman at Goffer's hedge fund, Incremental Capital. He testified at his former co-workers' trial earlier this year, explaining to the jury that Goffer told members of his insider-trading ring to use pre-paid cellular phones when passing and discussing confidential tips.

"Your cooperation was substantial and you were a very important witness at the trial," U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said.

"There is a need to send a message to would-be cooperators that their assistance will be considered," the judge added. "Mr. Plate earned a break."

Sullivan also ordered Plate to forfeit $289,000. Undoubtedly he'll take it: Goffer was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Kimelman, who had rejected a no-jail deal with prosecutors just before the beginning of the trial, received two-and-a-half years behind bars.

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