New York residents are likely familiar with the controversy surrounding Michael Grimm. The former member of the U.S. House of Representatives has been accused of perjury, filing false tax returns and tax fraud, but he was still reelected overwhelmingly by his Staten Island constituents in the 2014 midterm elections. However, the former U.S. Representative's good fortune ran out on July 17 when he was sentenced to eight months in prison by a Brooklyn judge.
Grimm had originally faced a 21-count indictment that could have led to a prison sentence of 20 years, but he eventually entered a guilty plea to a single felony charge of filing a false tax return. However, a U.S. Attorney said that Grimm had signed a letter admitting to conduct substantiating the remaining charges. In addition to his custodial sentence, Grimm will be required to pay restitution to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the New York State Insurance Fund and the Internal Revenue Service. Grimm had faced a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
Grimm's sentencing puts an end to a story that had fueled gossip columns in both New York City and Washington, D.C. The politician defiantly refused to resign his seat when the story first broke, and he vowed that he would fight to prove his innocence when the charges against him were announced. However, his Republican colleagues began to call for his resignation as the controversy dragged on.
Grimm's case shows how important it can be to mount a vigorous defense against fraud charges. A criminal defense attorney with experience in this area could be called upon in the early stages of a case involving white collar charges to advocate on behalf of a client as investigators sift through large amounts of evidence.