Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc trader Matthew Taylor has been sentenced to serve nine months in prison and pay $118m in restitution to his former employer after he pleaded guilty to pursuing an unauthorised $8.3bn futures trade in 2007.
In imposing a sentence well below the 33- to 41-month term the US Department of Justice had recommended, US District Judge William Pauley in New York castigated both Goldman and government authorities for failing to immediately address Taylor’s conduct when it occurred.
The case is a “paradigm of everything that is wrong with Wall Street and the regulators charged with protecting the public,” Pauley said on Friday.
Prosecutors claimed Taylor lied to supervisors and fabricated trades in December 2007 to conceal an $8.3bn position in Standard & Poor’s 500 e-mini futures contracts, which bet on the direction of that index.
Goldman fired him shortly thereafter.
The bank had sought the $118m to cover its losses on the trade, a request the US Department of Justice supported,
though it is unlikely that Goldman will collect.
Taylor, a married father of two, has moved to Florida, where he and his wife have started a pool cleaning business.
“We’ve tried to rebuild our lives far from Wall Street,” Taylor, 34, told the judge.
He pleaded guilty in April, a day after turning himself in to authorities.
He was previously fined $500,000 by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Goldman itself paid a $1.5m civil fine last December to settle CFTC charges that it failed to adequately supervise Taylor, an amount that Pauley said it earned back in a “couple of minutes” given its more than $7bn in annual profits.
The judge saved some of his harshest words for the government, criticising regulators and prosecutors for failing to investigate Taylor for years and then claiming credit in the media when they finally did.
“It cannot be called justice or oversight when it took the government six years to bring a rogue trader to justice, when the trader admitted his conduct on Day 1,” he said.