Don't Wait, Contact Us Now
617-391-0592
${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} Menu directions

U.S. Judicial Panel Changes Fraud Sentencing Guidelines

A federal judicial panel recently adopted new guidelines for sentencing white-collar defendants in fraud cases, in an effort to make punishments more fairly reflect the harm suffered by victims and the intent of offenders to cause harm. The changes approved by the U.S. Sentencing Commission will take effect on Nov. 1, 2015, subject to Congressional approval.

The proposed changes follow years of criticism from defense attorneys and some judges who say federal sentencing guidelines have led to overly severe punishments, potentially reaching life in prison, because they emphasize financial losses such as from falling stock prices. Judges need not follow the guidelines, but must consider them.

"These amendments emphasize substantial financial harms to victims rather than simply the mere number of victims and recognize concerns regarding double-counting and over-emphasis on loss," said Chief Judge Patti Saris of the federal court in Massachusetts, who chairs the commission.

The changes call for "intended" losses to reflect financial harm that defendants "purposely sought to inflict," and give judges greater discretion in factoring actual losses in stocks, bonds or commodities into punishments. They also permit greater punishments when even just one or a few people suffer "substantial financial hardship" from fraud, while current guidelines emphasize the number of victims, even if their losses are small. Another change adjusts fraud losses for inflation for the first time.

Fraud accounts for the third most federal crimes, after immigration and narcotics.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
View our Practice Areas
bostlnno Boston Business Journal CNN The wall street journal Forbes

Email Us Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Dhar Law, LLP

1 Constitution Center, Suite 300
Charlestown, MA 02129

Phone: 617-391-0592
Fax: 617-880-6160