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
House Task Force Will Address ‘Over-Criminalization’ of Federal Law
On May 31, the House Committee on Judiciary Over-Criminalization Task Force will begin a six-month investigation to determine whether the U.S. Code over-criminalizes relatively minor conduct. The bipartisan task force, composed of five Republicans and five Democrats, will conduct hearings and review thousands of federal criminal statutes for purposes of recommending consensus-based improvements to federal… 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
This Gaming Case Didn’t Have to Be Prosecuted
A Nevada man now has a criminal record – simply because he placed a bet in a casino in Las Vegas and a casino employee didn’t ask him enough questions. Robert Walker recently pleaded guilty in federal court to one misdemeanor count involving a record-keeping violation and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation…. Read More
Court Finds State Ban on Sex Offenders’ Use of Social Media Tramples Speech Rights
In a January 23, 2013, ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit held that an Indiana law that prohibited most registered sex offenders from using social media websites was unconstitutional because it was “not narrowly tailored to protect the state’s interest.” The decision was restricted to the Indiana statute on sex offenders… 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