Category: Federal Sentencing
Peugh Ruling Affirms Sentencing Guidelines at the Time of the Crime are Applicable
In a key sentencing decision handed down this year, the United States Supreme Court held that the Ex Post Facto Clause is violated when a defendant is sentenced under provisions of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines promulgated after he committed the crime and those new provisions result in an increased risk of greater punishment. In addition… Read More
Was This Sentence Quite Excessive for a Bizarre Fraud Scheme?
A $3 billion fraud scheme, more farcical than dangerous and in any case doomed to fail, led to 20-year sentences in federal prison for all four conspirators. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, however, vacated the sentences on procedural grounds, and U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the District of Connecticut,… Read More
D.C. Circuit Clarifies Key Issue in Wake of High Court’s ‘Honest Services’ Decision
A recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision narrows the ability of the government to revisit uncharged crimes against a person whose plea has been vacated due to a change in the law. In 2007, Russell Caso had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1343… Read More
Appeals Court Strikes Fraud Sentence for Lack of Proof by Government
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit recently ruled on an issue lying at the intersection of fraud conspiracies and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines: the government’s separate burden of proof against each co-defendant when multiple plea bargains are entered. Specifically, the 11th Circuit was addressing whether the government presented sufficient evidence to show,… Read More
More Enron Fallout: Skilling and DOJ Enter Agreement to Reduce Sentence
Former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling reportedly has negotiated a deal with federal prosecutors that is likely to result in a significant reduction of the prison sentence he will serve for his role in the collapse of Enron. Under the new agreement, Skilling faces between 14 and 17.5 years in prison — a 27 to 42… Read More
Appeals Court Set to Consider Key Sentencing Issue on Profits Derived From Fraud
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit is currently considering a sentencing issue of great significance in cases in which a number of individuals work together to bring about a financial fraud. The question posed is the extent to which a defendant can and/or should be punished based on the profits made through… Read More
DOJ Notice Hints at a Sentencing Deal With Former Enron Exec Jeffrey Skilling
Justice may or may not be blind; but she can buckle under pressure. It may take years, millions of dollars and armies of attorneys, but if you have the resources to test her mettle, you too may tip the balance in your favor. Almost seven years after his conviction on fraud and other charges, former… Read More
What Lessons Can Be Learned From Tragic Death of An Internet Activist?
There can be no dispute that the death of Aaron Swartz – the Internet activist who took his own life on Friday, January 11 – is tragic. There can also be no dispute that the grief and anger his family feel is very real. The question is what the appropriate focus for that anger should… Read More
Online Pharma Exec Gets 4 Years in Prison for Selling Foreign Drugs in U.S.
Andrew Strempler, a Canadian citizen who helped to pioneer the cross-border online pharmacy industry, was sentenced on January 9, 2013, to four years in prison in connection with allegations that his former company sold fake and misbranded drugs to U.S. citizens. The sentence follows Strempler’s guilty plea in October in federal court in Miami to… Read More
D.C. Circuit: Restitution Order Must Involve Victim’s Loss, Not Defendant’s Gain
On November 9, 2012, in a unanimous opinion in United States v. Fair, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the district court had abused its discretion in ordering restitution in the amount of $743,000 in a criminal copyright infringement case. The appeals court vacated the lower court’s restitution order, finding… Read More