December 2, 2007
Long Sentences for First Offenders
A press release of the U.S. Attorneys Office in Massachusetts tells of 20 and 35 year sentences being issued to first offenders who committed white collar offenses. The press release states that the individuals were "operators of a pyramid scheme which took in approximately $27 million from roughly 500 victims, most from the Cambodian-American community." "U.S. Attorney Sullivan stated that “[t]he victims are hard working people who were led to believe that they were making safe and responsible investments. Sadly a number of these victims are now facing the loss of their homes and financial ruin.” The two were convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, and yes - what seems to be common in white collar cases today - money laundering. This is yet another example of long sentences being issued in a white collar case. (See also here for a discussion of the McFarland case). More importantly, we again see the long sentence in a case where the defendants risked a trial as opposed to taking a plea agreement, and a case where the dollar figure seriously influenced the sentence.
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