This week, a federal judge announced a sentence in a Florida fraud case involving an arms deal with the Pentagon.
The case involves an arms dealer from Florida. He was accused of committing fraud in connection to a weapons contract. The man's company had been granted a contract by the Pentagon to provide munitions to the U.S. military. The contract barred the man from using Chinese ammunition to fulfill this contract. The man then allegedly repackaged Chinese ammunition to make it look as though it came from another country and sold it to the Pentagon.
A large number of charges were brought against the man in regards to this alleged fraud. He entered a deal with the prosecutors, and pled guilty to the charge of fraud conspiracy. In exchange for this guilty plea, the other charges were dropped.
This case demonstrates how prosecutors sometimes use plea deals in fraud and white collar crime cases. In these deals, prosecutors will give some form of leniency in exchange for a guilty plea. In this case, the leniency given was a dropping of other criminal charges.
The maximum sentence the man could have faced for this charge was five years. The judge sentenced him to serve four years in prison, and ordered him to pay a large fine. Thus, despite the guilty plea, the judge opted not to show much leniency in the man's sentencing.
The judge said that this was due in part to the fact that the man's fraud could have endangered U.S. troops. This illustrates how many factors can play a role in sentencing decisions in white collar crime cases.
Source: The Washington Post, "Fla. arms dealer gets 4 years in Pentagon fraud," (Article no longer available online) Curt Anderson, 3 Jan 2011