Should penalties for white collar criminals be lightened?
This is the fourth and final post in a series on different concerns about federal sentencing. Previous posts looked at the potential for judges to impose unfairly high sentences on celebrity defendants and the fact that some judges ignore prosecutors' plea deals, perhaps to send a message.
While federal criminal defendants are entitled to jury trials regarding whether they are guilty, the judge ultimately decides what penalty is appropriate. In the third post of our four-part series on federal sentencing, we will look at another recent high-profile case in which the judge dramatically overshot the prosecutor's recommendation.
This is the second post in a four-part series that looks at some recent headline-grabbing stories in the world of federal sentencing. Although various limits and recommendations exist to help guide sentence decisions, federal judges are ultimately empowered to choose an appropriate punishment. That discretion is sometimes a tool for carefully tailored justice - but it also raises serious concerns in other cases.
Several high-profile stories are drawing renewed attention to the ways in which federal judges impose prison sentences in some cases. Despite decades of efforts to reduce unfair differences and the large degree of variation between apparently similar cases in front of different judges, serious concerns still exist with the sentencing system.
A 61-year-old businessman received essentially a life sentence this week when a federal judge sent him to prison for 60 years. The insurance fraud case allegedly cost investors $485 million and affected as many as 1,000 people.
Earlier this year, a Miami couple pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud in a deal with prosecutors. Based on the plea deal, a federal judge sentenced the couple to prison last week. Prosecutors accused the couple of committing health care fraud by submitting $45 million in false claims.
While the troubled economy can certainly be to blame for the multitude of foreclosures and short sales in Florida, at least some of these real estate transactions have involved mortgage fraud.
A person can face serious consequences if they are convicted of Medicare fraud. What specific sentence a person in this circumstance will face can be influenced by a variety of factors. One of these factors is the monetary amount of the fraud the person was convicted of. This can be seen in a recent Medicare fraud case from Florida.
Tax preparers often have a variety of skills and knowledge regarding tax matters. A tax preparer can face severe consequences if he or she is accused of using these skills and this knowledge to commit tax crimes such as tax evasion or tax fraud. For example, a tax preparer can receive a harsh criminal sentence, such as a long jail term, if he or she is convicted of committing such crimes.