"Words can't express how sorry I am for the harm I have caused to others, especially my family," Plotkin said.
Plotkin was charged in 2006 in a scheme that involved David Pajcin, another Goldman Sachs analyst, and Stanislav Shpigelman, who met Plotkin in college and worked as an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.'s mergers and acquisitions division.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Cantwell said the trio conspired on some of the most innovative and complicated insider-trading schemes since those of the 1980s.
In one instance, a New Jersey grand juror leaked information so Plotkin and Pajcin could learn details of an investigation of accounting fraud accusations against Bristol-Myers and several of its executives.
In a second plot, Pajcin and Plotkin arranged for a man to become a forklift operator at a printing plant so he could steal early copies of a market-moving column in BusinessWeek magazine.
Prosecutors say Shpigelman provided Plotkin and Pajcin with information on deals to give them an advantage in their trading.
In exchange for information on six different pending mergers or acquisitions, Shpigelman received cash and promises of future payments based on a percentage of profits, authorities said.
Although the charges carry a potential maximum prison term of 165 years, Plotkin signed a plea agreement in which he promised not to appeal any sentence between four years and nine months and five years and 11 months in prison.