White Collar Crimes like Fraud Getting Harsher Sentences Nationally

In an article from the New York Times this week, Peter J. Henning addressed a growing trend of exceptionally harsh sentences for federal white collar crimes. Many high profile cases over the past several years have left people sentenced to over 100 years behind bars, essentially giving them a life sentence—something previously only reserved for violent criminals.

Although the Times article speaks specifically to federal crimes, white collar crimes on the state level are also treated far more seriously than some may expect.

The article points out that even ten years ago these sentences were unheard of for such crimes. Then, federal sentencing guidelines were mandatory and judges didn’t have the discretion that they do now. Now it seems judges are using these cases that can involve hundreds of millions of dollars in investor money to show society that even financial crimes can truly harm people and will not be taken lightly by the courts.

The most astounding example of the extreme sentences recently handed down in federal courts was a 845 year sentence passed down in 2000. Most people, if asked to guess what the person who got that sentence was convicted of, would likely assume it was a horrible string of multiple murders. Not so.

While fraud cases and the penalties that accompany them vary from state to state, some things are similar. The more your crime costs the alleged victim, the more serious your charges will be. The determination between a misdemeanor and a felony charge is often the difference between hundreds of dollars and thousands.

Regardless of what state you are facing charges in and the classification of those charges, we may be able to help. We have a network of attorneys across the country, specialized in each state’s criminal laws. Contact us to discuss the details today and receive a free consultation on your case.

About David Matson