Come Monday, elderly fraudsters get new flexibility in sentencing
Wake up and good morning. Hey, some good news for the older set thinking of financial fraud. Come Monday, elderly people convicted of financial fraud and other federal crimes will be more likely to invoke their age in seeking lower prison terms due to a change in U.S. sentencing guidelines set to go into effect Nov. 1. A Bloomberg News story tells more here.
The change in guidelines means age, formerly irrelevant in sentencing, is now a factor in calculating sentencing ranges. Bloomberg notes some high-profile defendants such as Adelphia Communications Corp.’s John Rigas and former Illinois Governor George Ryan were in their 70s and 80s when sentenced.
Let's add to that Sarasota's own "Mini-Madoff" Ponzi schemer Art Nadel (booking photo, right) to that list. Last week, 77-year-old Nadel, accused of defrauding investors of $168 million, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The founder of Sarasota's Scoop Management Inc. pleaded guilty in February to a 15-count indictment filed by U.S. prosecutors in New York. The charges included securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. More here.
Some criminal defense attorneys like the coming change to the age guidelines.
"We were supportive of this particular amendment," Mark P. Rankin (photo, left), co-chairman of the sentencing committee at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, told Bloomberg News. "Anything that broadens the scope of the district judge’s discretion is good for the sentencing process." Rankin is a partner at Shutts & Bowen LLP in Tampa.
So, is this a good thing? Tell us what you think.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist