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Our Federal Prisons Are Fueled By Drugs

That’s the takeaway from this report by the federal courts and U.S. Sentencing Commission. To summarize, there are almost 200,000 people in federal prison today, and almost half of them (or 48%) are there for drugs. Almost all of them (93%) are men, and the vast majority are young, minority men. The breakdown is 35% Hispanic, 35% black, and 27% Read More

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What Are Your Intentions?

In most white-collar cases, the main driver at sentencing is the dollar amount of the victim’s loss, and in federal cases, the rule is that you’re responsible for either the actual loss or your intended loss, whichever is greater. We touched on the difference between actual and intended loss in this post from last spring. But recently, an Read More

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SCOTUS Stands Up for the Sixth Amendment

We’ve asked this question before. What if the government charged you with a crime, and you wanted to defend yourself but couldn’t—not because you didn’t have any money, but because the government had blocked all access to it? Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said the government can freeze your money before trial if there’s probable Read More

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Federal Healthcare Fraud Is A Continuing Offense

Which means the statute of limitations won’t matter if the government can characterize your conduct as one, continuous scheme that extended into the limitations period. So held a decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers California and eight other states. The decision affirmed a podiatrist’s conviction for violating the federal healthcare Read More

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But You Promised!

File this one under, #CallYourLawyerFirst. Two weeks ago, a federal court of appeals reversed a man’s conviction for mortgage fraud and ordered the case dismissed because the government had broken its promise not to prosecute him in exchange for his cooperation. The case presents a strange but interesting set of facts. From 2006 to 2007, the man worked for a real-estate firm that came Read More

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U.S. Sentencing Commission Amends Guidelines for White-Collar Fraud Cases

Any day now, the U.S. Sentencing Commission will submit to Congress a set of proposed amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines that it voted to approve three weeks ago. That matters because, in federal court, the guidelines drive most sentences and influence nearly all of them. If Congress doesn’t object to the amendments, they will go effective on November 1. Here’s Read More

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New Wine In Old Wineskins

Mail fraud, wire fraud, … wine fraud? More like highfalutin wine fraud. Last month, a federal district court in New York issued a 10-year sentence to a renowned wine dealer, collector, and connoisseur who was convicted of running a multimillion-dollar counterfeiting operation. The defendant sold and consigned his counterfeit wine to auction houses, wine enthusiasts, and some of the wealthiest Read More

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Federal Court of Appeals Vacates Lenient White-Collar Sentence

The overriding directive of federal sentencing law is to impose a sentence that is sufficient but not greater than necessary to accomplish the goals of sentencing: that is, to reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law, provide just punishment, deter crime, protect the public, and rehabilitate the defendant. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). Usually, the trial Read More

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Bank Fraud. Even If You’re Not Trying to Defraud a Bank.

Two days before the Supreme Court’s watershed opinion on cell phones, it published another unanimous opinion on a more esoteric topic: bank fraud. Yeah, that’s right, bank fraud. In Loughrin v. United States, the Court held that the federal bank-fraud statute can cover cases in which you intend to defraud someone or something other than a bank. How Read More

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