LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
First Monday Firsts: An Advocate Interview

This post first appeared on Appellate Daily . Monday was the first day of the 2010 Supreme Court Term, the first day on the bench for Justice Elena Kagan, and the first time three women have sat on the Court. For at least one advocate, it was also the first time at the Court's lectern. David Horan...

Mortgage Broker Escapes Sentencing Enhancement for Fraudulent Loan Conviction: Seventh Circuit Refuses to Find Abuse-Of-Trust between Broker and Lenders

Yesterday, the Seventh Circuit rejected Fifth and Eighth Circuit precedent by holding that 18 USCS Appx § 3B1.3 's abuse-of-trust sentencing enhancement was not applicable per se to a relationship between lenders and a mortgage broker who had falsified loan applications and provided phony...

Another Slavery Conviction

"A Micronesian couple who now reside in the Seattle-area were sentenced Wednesday for their role in a forced labor scheme uncovered in an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Seattle Police Department's High...

Sentencing in slavery case in Washington state

DOJ, Oct. 19, 2011 : "Edk Kenit, 28, and Choimina Lukas, 30, a Micronesian couple living in Longview, Wash., were sentenced today for their roles in a scheme to compel the labor of an 18-year-old woman, also from Micronesia. Kenit and Lukas were sentenced by U.S. Distrtict...

Tax Conviction and Sentence Affirmed Under Unusual Circumstances

In United States v. Moore , 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24621 (4th Cir. 11/28/12) (unpublished), here , the defendant raised many arguments, but I address only two here. 1. Error in Computing Tax Due at Trial then Conceded at Sentencing The prosecutors used the modified bank-deposits method of proof...

Petters Wants 50-Year Sentence Overturned

The man responsible for the third-largest Ponzi scheme in history has filed papers seeking to have his fifty-year sentence overturned, claiming that his former attorney failed to disclose that prosecutors had previously offered a 30-year sentence in plea negotiations. Thomas Petters, 56, chose to...

Death Sentence for Chinese Woman Convicted of $70 Million Ponzi Scheme

A Chinese woman who masterminded a $70 million Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to death by a Chinese court - possibly by firing squad. Haiyan Lin, 39, from the Wenzhou province, received the sentence as part of a broader push by Chinese authorities to crack down on the underground lending industry...

Appeals Court Affirms 20-Year Sentence for Florida Man in $19 Million Ponzi Scheme

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that a federal judge was justified in departing from federal sentencing guidelines in handing down the maximum statutory sentence to a Florida man who masterminded a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 500 victims out of $19 million. David Lewalski received...

In Last-Ditch Effort, Petters Seeks Sentence Reduction for $3.65 Billion Ponzi Scheme

"Your honor, I was scared, scared to death. It's not a great excuse. But I kept thinking about my kids and being gone from them for life. I'm sorry I lied in the courtroom, on the stand. I didn't want to go to trial. It's a horrible excuse. But I lied. I'm begging for your forgiveness...

State Net Criminal Law Update: Bryant Signs Off On Mississippi Sentencing Overhaul

BRYANT SIGNS OFF ON MS SENTENCING OVERHAUL: Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed prison sentence reform legislation last week that supporters say could save the Magnolia State $266 million over the next decade. The bill, HB 585, requires those convicted of a violent offense to serve at least 50 percent...

Convicted $110 Million Ponzi Schemer Seeks Reduction In "Crushing" Sentence

A New Zealand man who holds the distinction of having perpetrated the country's largest financial fraud in history is back in court to argue that his 65-month "minimum non-parole period" - or time that he must serve before he is eligible for parole - was "crushing" and warranted...

Convicted Ponzi Schemer Threatens to "Fry This Court" After Receiving 20-Year Sentence

Shortly after learning of his twenty-year prison sentence for operating a Ponzi scheme that duped more than 140 investors out of over $4.3 million, a Montana man stated that he "will fry this court" and threatened that the prosecuting county attorney "will pay." Richard Reynolds received...

California Man Fires Lawyer; Claims He Was Forced to Plead Guilty to $125 Million Latex Glove Ponzi Scheme

Due to be sentenced for masterminding a $125 million Ponzi scheme, a California man instead told a federal judge that he wanted to fire his lawyer, claiming he had been "intimidating" him and had coerced his guilty plea. Deepal Wannakuwatte, 63, had previously pleaded guilty to a single count...

Second Circuit Reverses Aberrational Sentencing of Home Confinement and Probation Because of Government Shutdown

I write today about a truly aberrational case out of the Second Circuit, [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]. I say that it is aberrational, but obviously that is loaded with my value judgment characterization. The case is United States v. Park , ___ F.3d ___, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS...

Attorney Sentence Properly Considered Attorney Status and Deterrence in Tax Cases

In United States v. McCord , 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86436 (SD OH 6/25/14), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the defendant, an attorney, was sentenced by a Magistrate Judge to 60-days incarceration and 1-year of supervised release. The defendant appealed to the District Judge, alleging...

Convicted $200 Million Ponzi Schemer Wins Resentencing After Appeals Court Tosses Two Convictions

An Indianapolis man currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for masterminding a massive Ponzi scheme that caused more than $200 million in losses will be resentenced after a federal appeals court reversed two of his wire fraud convictions based on prosecutor "oversight." Timothy Durham...

Appellate Court: Ponzi Schemer's Loss Calculation Must Account For Payments to Victims

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications, a federal appeals court has vacated a convicted Ponzi schemer's 11-year prison sentence after finding that the loss amount used in calculating the relevant sentencing guidelines improperly failed to account for money returned to victims in...

Pastor Gets 10-Year Sentence For $7 Million Ponzi Scheme

A California pastor was sentenced to serve more than ten years in prison for duping more than 80 victims - many of them low-income families - in a $7 million Ponzi scheme. Luis Serna, 62, was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell, who also ordered...

Insurance Fraud Results in Eight Years in Prison: Plea of Guilty to Insurance Fraud Stands

When a party pleads guilty to multiple crimes in open court and with the advice of competent counsel he or she can expect to spend time in jail or prison and to have no opportunity to withdraw the plea. However, in People v. Dobson , Not Reported in Cal.Rptr.3d, 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 824 (Cal.App...

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You

(Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Law3.jpg) People or organizations embroiled in lawsuits due to accusations of criminal misconduct need to engage the services of a attorney to defend themselves. It is the duty of a lawyer to carry out research, do the paperwork...

State Net Criminal Law Update: Prison Reform Boosted by Alliances of Conservatives and Liberals

In rare displays of bipartisanship, state legislative coalitions of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are overhauling sentencing procedures and making other important changes in criminal justice laws. Legislatures in Alabama and Maryland last month passed laws that will shorten many prison...

State Net Criminal Law Update: Nearly Half of States Made Criminal Sentencing Changes in 2014

Twenty-three states enacted 51 bills last year dealing with sentencing and criminal penalties, according to the State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation database provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project. At least...

Proposed Sentencing Reform in Illegal Re-entry Cases: The Quiet Crackdown - Julissa Arce

Julissa Arce, Apr. 8, 2016 - "The lack of media coverage and silence among politicians and presidential candidates on the proposed changes by the USSC are alarming, and frankly, disappointing since it is relevant to two hotly debated issues this year — immigration and criminal justice. These...

Supreme Court Slaps Fifth Circuit on Immigrant Sentencing: Molina-Martinez v. U.S.

Molina-Martinez v. U.S., Apr. 20, 2016 - "The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stands generally apart from other Courts of Appeals with respect to its consideration of unpreserved Guidelines errors. This Court now holds that its approach is incorrect."

Denver's Local Law Change Benefits Immigrants

Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, May 24, 2017 - "As the Trump administration’s war on “sanctuary cities” heats up, cities have come up with increasingly creative ways to fight back. The latest example comes from Denver, which just passed a law aimed at protecting legal immigrants...