Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Obesity claim used to avoid jail in Florida mortgage fraud case

Criminal cases have a variety of facets that affect not only the verdicts, but the sentences handed down when a guilty verdict is reached. Naturally, defendants want to moderate the punishments they incur however they can, and they certainly have the legal right to make a case for that moderation. Sometimes, their grounds can be common ones, such as parenthood, previously clean records or willingness to pay restitution in regards to financial crimes. In a Florida mortgage fraud case, a defendant's grounds for saying that he should not serve time are based on his morbid obesity.

The man, 47, is based in Florida and says that he can only be treated for his morbid obesity if he stays out of federal prison. However, the judge in his case asserts that the man is stalling and simply wants to avoid punishment. The man's alleged crime is involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme involving millions of dollars.

This is not the first time that the man has made health-based claims in order to avoid serving time. He missed dates to surrender himself to prison and offered a wide array of reasons for doing so in court. Those reasons included that he had pain in his feet, that he was coughing up blood and that he had ADSH, a condition that he had taken Ritalin for when he was 15.

In this case, the man faces a five-year prison sentence. He is also required to repay the sum of $2.8 million for his part in the mortgage fraud scheme, which was centered in Seminole County. Others accused of mortgage fraud in Florida will face different sentences and may be well-served to speak with an attorney about ways to prove their innocence or moderate their sentences if convicted.

Source: WDAY.com, "Florida man say he's "too morbidly obese" to serve prison sentence" Bob Kealing, CNN, Mar. 12, 2014

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