According to the jury foreman on the white collar crime case of a former Goldman Sachs executive, evidence against the defendant was overwhelming. A jury recently convicted the former power broker of insider trading, a nonviolent financial crime that often carries a severe sentence.
A federal jury in New York found the 63-year-old former executive, a native of India, guilty of several white collar crimes: one count of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Both types of convictions can bring harsh penalties, with conspiracy having a maximum of five years in prison, and securities fraud potentially carrying a sentence of 20 years behind bars.
The jury deliberated for less than 10 hours in the former director's case before reaching a verdict. The jury's foreman, himself an executive for a nonprofit organization, told the press that he did not want to vote for conviction. Noting the defendant's rags-to-riches personal and professional history, the foreman expressed admiration for the work ethic of the man he helped convict.
However, the juror added, the gravity of the evidence outweighed the strong emotions that he felt for the defendant. While some jurors acknowledged that the defendant may have been a victim of another businessman's manipulation to some degree, they still construed his actions as greedy and illegal and convicted him accordingly.
In any white collar crime case, the defendant's background and former professional life play key roles if a trial results. However, if jurors believe evidence is unassailable, even a stellar record in the past may be overshadowed by illegal activity.
Source: Bloomberg Businesweek, "In Gupta, Jurors Saw American Dream and Convicted Anyway," Patricia Hurtado, David Glovin and Bob Van Voris, June 16, 2012