Our client was charged with Wire Fraud in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. He was charged with embezzling almost $2,000,000.00 USD from a large, well-known corporation over a period of approximately 8 years. According to the Government’s salacious sentencing argument, much of the money went to his many mistresses, for vacations, gifts, romantic hotel suites, and even breast augmentation surgeries.
In the federal criminal system, the charge of Wire Fraud is a serious charge that carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. But the statute is only one part of the sentencing parameters; a complex calculation is made under the United States Sentencing Guidelines to determine, based on the offense itself and the defendant’s criminal background, what sentencing range is advisable. The Guidelines are advisory, but most judges still sentence within the Guideline range.
Our client hired Wigell Criminal Defense to represent him in this case before he was formally charged. This is called the Investigation Stage. We armed him with an Assertion of Rights document, which functions as a shield between the person being investigated and all law enforcement agencies that are involved. Immediately after, we initiated contact with the federal prosecutor who was about to charge him with a federal crime. This is important to do because it plants the seeds that grow to a favorable result at the end of the case.
Negotiations commenced, as there was a wealth of documentation illustrating that our client had obtained funds that were not his. More importantly than this, however, was the fact that based on Senior Attorney Raymond Wigell’s 40+ years of experience on both the federal and state level, he advised our client to cooperate with the Government; this would get our client the best result possible at the resolution of the case. He was an upper middle class man with a beautiful wife and children, no criminal background, and was in mental health counseling to help him address and heal some of the issues that he believed caused him to behave inappropriately.
Negotiations are delicate, and there is no template approach. With senior attorney Raymond Wigell’s forty-plus years of white collar defense experience and his advanced degree in Taxation, as well as senior associate Huma Rashid’s detailed mitigation work, Wigell Criminal Defense was able to properly position the case to resolve it with the least amount of prison time as possible. Although a plea agreement was negotiated with the Government, the sentencing range was still very much the subject of argument.
The advised Guideline range, according to court filings and calculations, was 51-63 months in prison. The Government, citing the fact that our client’s conduct created a loss amount of almost $2 million, and that the theft occurred over the period of several years, made strong arguments for a sentence within that range.
But this was not the whole story of our client. At Wigell Criminal Defense, we believe in a holistic approach that take into account the entirety of the person and their life story. A person’s history, characteristics, and an explanation as to why they have committed an offense, are very important when it comes to federal sentencing.
With multiple and regular meetings with our client, attorneys Raymond Wigell and Huma Rashid drafted a detailed sentencing memorandum that explored the client’s life history, including his traumatic childhood abuse, his beautiful family, and his dedication to counseling and therapy in order to heal and fix his bad patterns.
After hearing all arguments, the federal judge ordered a sentence of 36 months in federal prison, well below the Government’s request of 51-63 months. Our client was very grateful that the sentence was 27 months below the maximum end of the range recommended by the Government. After all, just because a plea agreement states a certain sentencing range that the parties agree to does not mean that proper mitigation and argument can’t change the result to make it more favorable to the client.
Thanks to the detailed mitigation work and the holistic defense approach employed, the Wigell Criminal Defense Team was able to save our client a little more than 2 years of his life in federal prison.