Richard Tarlowe, a Federal prosecutor, wrote that Mr. Gupta’s behavior is “particularly troubling at a time when there is widespread concern about corruption, greed and recklessness at the highest levels of the financial services industry.”
Did Mr. Gupta model these behaviors to others, especially to those lower on the corporate ladder? Of course he did.
The factor that makes all this is so puzzling is that Mr. Gupta also contributed to global welfare, global health issues, various philanthropies, and has inspired 400 letters from prominent people recommending that his actions in these other areas could lead to a light punishment. One is from Bill Gates; another from Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General.
One of the options on the table before Judge Jed Rakoff is to allow Mr. Gupta to perform community service in Rwanda.
“Where art thou?” is an ancient way of asking, “What is the significance of this action?” Are you making this behavioral decision from your conscience, your higher self, or from your wallet?
Tomorrow, Judge Rakoff will either send Mr. Gupta to Rwanda or to jail for 8 to 10 years and a day. All those who learned from Mr. Gupta might want to remember to ask themselves this question before making a financial or moral decision, “Where art thou?”
Good behaviors do not necessarily cancel out bad decisions.