Many people who commit white collar crimes don't end up going to prison. In reality, a large number of people don't even face significant penalties. If you're accused of a federal white collar crime, then you need to know why that is and how to help yourself avoid penalties as well.
On Mar. 18, news about Paul Manafort being sentenced in one of two federal trials made national headlines. He was sentenced to just 3.5 years in prison, and previously, a judge had sentenced him to four years in prison in the Eastern District of Virginia for the state case.
Many have criticized the short prison sentences, since he could have faced up to 24 years for the eight counts of tax and bank fraud. The sentences fell far below the typical federal guidelines.
Why do some people face lighter sentences?
While the man faced around half the time he should have based on the law, the reality is that this kind of sentence is typical. The median sentence length for cases classified as white collar crimes by the Justice Department is only 7.5 months, when looking at cases between 1986 and 2015.
The reason for this is likely because of the complexity of these cases. The prosecution has to prove that you, if you're accused of a white collar crime, intended to defraud others. There may also be no witnesses, which makes it harder for the prosecution to make their case.
If you're accused of a white collar crime, don't count on a light sentence. Your attorney will need to take the time to help you develop your defense and reduce the likelihood of a harsh sentence.