Thursday, September 22, 2005

40 Years for Investment Fraud

Speaking of severe sentences, an AP story (here) discusses the sentencing of James Gibson in East St. Louis, IL, to a forty-year term of imprisonment and $83 million in restitution for defrauding 183 victims.  Gibson was convicted of fraud and money laundering for taking money from people who received settlements in personal injury and med-mal cases and promising to invest it to provide investors with a life-time income.  In a familiar refrain, the money went for his personal expenses (boat, car, etc.) and was invested in a chain of grocery stores that went bankrupt.  At trial, at which he represented himself, Gibson argued that the company's attorney's and accountants told him that he could use the investors' money as he saw fit.  Perhaps that explains the comment by U.S. District Judge Gilbert as he imposed the highest sentence provided by the Sentencing Guidelines: "You are, without a doubt, the most arrogant, self-centered, manipulative person I've ever laid eyes on." Wow. (ph)

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