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August 4, 2007

Another notable double-decade sentence for white-collar offender

The Miami Herald report here on the sentencing of "Hector Orlansky, one of two brothers who presided over one of the biggest bank frauds ever in South Florida," who "was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Friday."  Here are more interesting details:

U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan ignored pleas for leniency from Orlansky's lawyer before imposing the sentence.  The judge said he based the sentence on the severity of the crime and his wish to have it serve as a deterrent to other white-collar crime. ''This was not a run-of the-mill white-collar offense,'' Jordan said. "This is a case involving a huge amount of loss. The loss was close to $167 million. That is a staggering sum.''...

Outside the Miami federal courthouse, Orlansky's sister, Marina Handel, expressed anger at the sentencing. ''This is a travesty,'' said Handel, who lives in New Jersey.  "We are an honest and decent family.''

Said U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta in a statement: The "20-year sentence is an important benchmark to our business community that honesty and integrity in commercial dealings must be protected, and that those who cheat face serious consequences.''... The government recommended a sentence at the low end of the advisory sentencing guidelines, which were about 22 years to 27 years. Jordan veered slightly from that, citing Orlansky's age and various health issues. 

Peter Henning at the White Collar Crime Prof highlights here that the "defendant is 62, so this is virtually a life sentence."

August 4, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

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Comments

20 years for fraud and its below guideline?!?! When your daughter is walking the streets alone at night, who are you afraid she will run into; a low level violent offender or teh white collar guy? We have gone too far.

Posted by: DAG | Aug 4, 2007 10:55:39 AM

A 2o years probation would have been better. He would have to do volunteer works throughout his probation. If he violates his probation then sent him to prison. Of course, after serving 80-90 per cent of his probation he should be eligible for early termination.

Posted by: | Aug 4, 2007 11:36:28 AM

I am far less worried about my daughter walking the streets at night than I am afraid of some fancy-suit white-collar fraudulent creep talking the life savings of my elderly parents. I am normally doubtful of deterrence as a justification for sentencing, but if it has any value it is with white collar criminals who are sophisticated enough to read a newspaper and think about the consequences. I propose a double the penalty enhancement for every criminal who makes over $100,000 a year. Theft by poor people is wrong. Theft by rich people is reprehensible.

Posted by: | Aug 4, 2007 1:32:27 PM

The last comment is absolutely moronic. You are an idiot, who should move to North Korea. What has happened to this country? We have gotten completely away from our founding as a land of liberty and justice and moved towards being one of the most statist societies in modern history. Last commentator, do you have any understanding of the concept of diminishing returns to scale? Why would five years or so not have been enough of a deterrent.

Posted by: Mark | Aug 4, 2007 3:04:43 PM

I imagine that there are great number of people who would take the risk of ripping off $167 million, and likely parking most of it off-shore, knowing that (1) the odds of getting might not be great and (2) if caught, the sentence would be only probation or 5 years incarceration. I also imagine that there are far fewer people who are willing to risk 20 years of their lives for this same "opportunity."

There are people in my state who are sentenced five years in prison for shoplifting (the rule here is that if you enter the 7-11 with intent to steal the candy bar, it's felony burglary) -- a sentence of 20 years for an offense of this magnitude doesn't seem out of line to me given the context of other sentences.

Posted by: Apparently it's idiot | Aug 5, 2007 12:20:29 AM

I imagine that there are great number of people who would take the risk of ripping off $167 million, and likely parking most of it off-shore, knowing that (1) the odds of getting might not be great and (2) if caught, the sentence would be only probation or 5 years incarceration. I also imagine that there are far fewer people who are willing to risk 20 years of their lives for this same "opportunity."

There are people in my state who are sentenced five years in prison for shoplifting (the rule here is that if you enter the 7-11 with intent to steal the candy bar, it's felony burglary) -- a sentence of 20 years for an offense of this magnitude doesn't seem out of line to me given the context of other sentences.

Posted by: Apparently it's idiot | Aug 5, 2007 12:21:04 AM

You make a common mistake. That the sentences for shoplifting are out of whack, does not justify making all other sentences out of whack. It is thinking like this that has created the one-way ratchet that has infected our criminal system. On your deterence point, research shows the probability of detection is much more central to deterrence than increased punishment. At bottom, we have someone who does not belong in jail for 20 years and could probably do some real good on the outside. It is not like he will be in a position to do something like this again. I think a lot of folks just lose all common sense when it comes to sentencing issues. And, again, why must our country be so exceptional in this respect relative to other western democracies?

Posted by: Mark | Aug 5, 2007 8:50:20 PM

Hey Mark, I am pretty liberal as you know but
a $167M loss is a large figure. Five years
frankly is not enough. Many lives are ruined
by people who committ fraud. They don't care
about the money they swindle while they are
spending it. In my career, the fraud clients
are the worst. They would prey on anyone.
I think 10 years in this case would have been
reasonable.

Posted by: Ronald Richards | Aug 6, 2007 4:27:06 PM

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