White Collar Federal Fraud Crimes High Sentences Making Headlines
Names like Bernie Madoff, Lee Farkas, Jeffrey Skilling and Raj Rajaratnam have gained household recognition in the United States, held up as examples of financial excess and criminal culpability. The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation have affirmed their priorities in pursuing alleged perpetrators of securities fraud, health care fraud and bank fraud in response to recent economic struggles nationwide.On the other end of those prosecutions, federal judges are imposing harsh sentences for white collar crimes. A strong sense that the public wants accountability has led to some 20-year prison terms, and even incarceration in excess of 50 years for Scott Rothstein, convicted for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme valued at $1.4 billion. In the Farkas case, federal prosecutors recommended a 385-year term to put fear in the hearts of American brokers, investment managers and corporate executives.
Federal fraud crimes like insider training, embezzlement and other examples of financial fraud are investigated with a great deal of collaboration between the DOJ, FBI and other state and federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since the United States Sentencing Commission enacted stricter sentencing guidelines in 2001, the stakes for accused defendants have increased considerably.
Financial Fraud Criminal Defense: Assessing Complex Cases
The evidence in a fraud case is a complex web of financial information, witness testimony and in-house communications. Similarly complex federal fraud statutes often require a great deal of inference about the elements of a crime for prosecutors to meet their burden of proof. A strong and aggressive criminal defense strategy is extremely important in such cases, as the potential for minimizing the damage or explaining complex information in favor of the defense may lead to a path away from a serious conviction or sentence.
High-profile financial crimes prosecutions and the huge sentences that follow may lead some to a kneejerk presumption of guilt whenever they hear the word fraud. The facts are much more complex. A South Carolina white collar criminal defense lawyer can help clients understand the evidence and pursue a positive outcome.