NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc associate who admitted to illegally obtaining confidential documents from a friend at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was handed a fine on Tuesday but spared a prison sentence.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had sought up to a year in prison for Rohit Bansal, who they said used the documents to further his career and shared some with other Goldman Sachs employees to help on bank client work.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein called Bansal’s motivations “significantly disturbing,” and said Bansal was aware the documents he obtained from Jason Gross, the New York Fed employee, were confidential.
But he said Bansal’s conviction, coupled with the loss of a career, had sent a “powerful message” to others who might engage in similar conduct, and sentenced him to a $5,000 fine and two years of probation with 300 hours of community service.
Bansal, 30, said he was “profoundly sorry” for his actions, which resulted in him pleading guilty in November to a misdemeanor charge of theft of government property and being permanently barred from the banking industry.
“During my short time at Goldman Sachs, I truly lost sight of what was right,” he said.
The case highlighted the so-called revolving door on Wall Street, in which regulators take jobs at the banks they formerly oversaw.
The charges were announced after Goldman Sachs agreed in October to a $50 million settlement with the New York State Department of Financial Services for failing to supervise Bansal.
According to prosecutors and New York regulators, Bansal obtained numerous documents from Gross, whom he formerly supervised at the New York Fed, after joining Goldman Sachs in July 2014.
Those documents included some relating to examinations of a bank that Goldman was advising about a potential transaction, regulators said.
Bansal shared some of the documents with others at Goldman, regulators and prosecutors said, telling them in at least one instance, “Please don’t distribute.”
Goldman has said that after discovering Bansal obtained the confidential supervisory information, it notified regulators and fired him and a more senior employee who failed to take further action. The New York Fed also fired Gross.
Gross, 37, pleaded guilty in November to a misdemeanor charge and was fined $2,000 by Gorenstein last week and sentenced to a year of probation with 200 hours of community service.
The case is U.S. v. Bansal, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-cr-00771.
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