According to court documents, one of the former owners of the New York Islanders recently had his assessed 10-year sentence vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan. Reportedly, the appellate court found that the record made by the sentencing judge did not meet certain requirements for imposing the sentence that was given.
In his original sentencing, the District Court judge found that people who had been allegedly bilked had suffered significant harm as a result. The Court of Appeals found that the judge had not based his sentencing decision on any one person's suffering significant financial losses, however. Rather, retirement and pension plans had invested, but no evidence was presented regarding individual losses.
The 68-year-old man, who is currently housed in the same prison as Bernard Madoff, reportedly bilked investors out of $554 million in a scheme he allegedly ran together with his partner, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence. The 68-year-old man reportedly cooperated with prosecutors after the scheme allegedly unraveled. His case will be sent back to the lower court for resentencing. Although the ruling means that the court can still impose a 10-year sentence, the appellate ruling indicated that if such a sentence is imposed, it must be based on factual evidence.
People charged with fraud crimes may face the potential of many years of prison, restitution and substantial fines. If someone learns they are a target of an investigation, they may want to obtain the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Even before a charging decision is made, the attorney can begin gathering mitigating evidence in order to try to negotiate a deal in which the client avoids charges. If charges are filed, counsel may then try to obtain an agreement that would include a guilty plea to a lesser offense in order to reduce the penalties.
Source: Reuters, "U.S. court vacates ex-NY Islanders owner's 10-year fraud sentence," Jonathan Stempel, Jan. 7, 2016.