Mortgage Fraud – 30 Years in Prison – Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher Asks – Excessive?

prison1.jpg 

O.K.  I say often – Every choice has a consequence!  I live and breath that concept.  I’ve lived it – serving time in prison.  But, I have to ask in these comments – Is 30 years excessive?

According to the White Collar Crime Prof Blog the following was stated:  “United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida issued a press release that Samantha Johnson and Scott Warren Johnson, husband and wife, were sentenced following their guilty please to “a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme.”  The sentences were 60 months for Samantha Johnson and one year for Scott Johnson.  The press release said that they received “in excess of 2.5 million in ill gotten gains.”

Now compare this to the sentence received by Chalana McFarland, a first offender who was sentenced for mortgage fraud (see here) to 30 years imprisonment for her role in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that skimmed $20 million from the sale of over 100 homes from 1999 to 2002. 

Why such a disparity in sentence?  Could it be that the first group of individuals plead guilty and the second person risked trial?  When the stakes are so high, do you really have a constitutional right to a jury trial?”

The White Collar Crime Prof Blog goes further to state: ”

30 Years to Non-violent First Offender in White Collar Case

The case of Chalana McFarland, pending in the 11th Circuit, is a case that should be closely watched as it involves a sentence of 30 years for a non-violent first offender in a white collar case. The defendant argues that this sentence is unreasonable.  The preliminary briefs are below:

Download final_11_cta_brief.pdf

Download appellee_brief_feb_28_06.pdf

Download mcfarland_reply_06.pdf

The parties also filed briefs in response to the Rita case. As noted in McFarland’s supplemental brief –

“Ms. McFarland also has a young child and has lost her reputation in the legal community as well as in the general community.  Her incarceration has been very difficult for her parents and young child.  If President Bush is correct that Libby’s sentence of 30 months is ‘excessive’ than surely Chalana McFarland’s 360 month sentence is excessive as well, and should be reversed.”

So here are the questions:

(1) If President Bush said that Scooter Libby’s sentence was unreasonable, what do you think about this sentence?

(2) Was this sentence the outcome of electing to take advantage of the constitutional right to a jury trial vs. pleading?

I elected to plead guilty to my crimes and had the agreement with the U.S. Attorney as to the length of sentence according to the sentencing guidelines.  Today, I share with businesses and associations that – Every Choice Has A Consequence.  http://www.chuckgallagher.com

But 30 years…Wow!

Any comments?

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