You could watch the movie Wall Street and many things may still ring true. Of course its the 1980s, so the clothes and the women’s hair stick out. But the icon is the big brick cell phone. It was huge and expensive for its time. And all it did was makes phone calls. It was enough of an iconic image that it carried over to the sequel, with the prison guard handing Gecko back his belongings one by one, including the big cell phone.
With Raj Rajaratnam receiving the longest prison sentence ever for insider trading, I wonder which of his personal belongings will be the most iconic in next decade? Rajaratnam 11 year sentence was short of the 19 to 24 years that prosecutors sought. If you look to the movie for inspiration, Gordon Gecko was released from prison after serving eight years.
Of course his phone will be horribly out of date, assuming we still use phones and don’t have chips implanted or whatever the next Steve Jobs-like innovator thinks we should have in our pocket.
Insider trading will still be something that people go to prison for. Not lots of people. Just a few criminals who push too far and whose actions are too nefarious. Plenty more get hefty fines and have to return their ill-gotten gains.
It’s easy to look at these criminals for causing the 2008 financial crisis and the financial mess. Many people are clamoring for more Wall Street heads on pikes. However, insider trading did not cause the 2008 financial crisis.
- Rajaratnam and the “No One Has Gone to Prison” Myth by Tim Cavanaugh in Reason
- Galleon Chief Sentenced to 11-Year Term in Insider Case by Peter Lattman in Dealbook