The financial crisis of 2008 has led to accusations of white collar crime, including insider trading. One of the men who was sentenced to prison was facing the longest sentence of all time for that crime: between 15 years and 20 years behind bars.
However, some critics have come out and said that the way white collar crime sentences are determined is "nonsensical." They say that this approach leads to prison terms that are too severe for the crime.
These critics are not even coming out against punishments in general, or against the use of prison time. They support jail terms and say that they can really send a message. The issue is just with how the terms are decided.
One thing that tends to weigh heavily in these cases, which almost always revolve around money, is how much of that money was taken. If a scheme was only to net $10,000, the penalty would be far less than if the scheme produced $10 million.
There are a few potential issues here, one of which is that a person's intent to commit the crime would be the same, regardless of the net gain. The bigger issue, though, is that people at all levels of the scheme could face similar charges based on the total net gains. This means that someone who knew about it and played a very, very minor role could face a similar sentence to the person who set the scheme up and made it all possible.
As these sentences come under fire, it's clear how important it is to know your defense options in Maryland when facing charges.
Source: Newsweek, "Nonsensical Sentences for White Collar Criminals," Leah McGrath Goodman, accessed Jan. 15, 2016