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September 4, 2009

Eighth Circuit affirms stat-max sentence for false statement in bankruptcy proceeding

With a struggling ecomony perhaps leading more and more businesses and persons to consider declaring bankruptcy, a ruling today from the Eighth Circuit in US v. Waldner, No. 08-2606 (8th Cir. Sept. 4, 2009) (available here), provides a sharp reminder why one must be truthful in any bankruptcy proceeding.  Here is the unofficial summary of the Waldner ruling from the Eighth Circuit's website:

District court did not err imposing a 16- level increase under Guidelines Sec. 2B1.1(b)(1)(I) as the court properly concluded the amount of loss exceeded $1 million; nor did the court err in imposing enhancements under Guidelines Sec. 2B1.1(b)(9)(c) for use of sophisticated means, Guidelines Sec. 3B1.2 for abuse of a position of private trust or Guidelines Sec. 3C1.1 for obstruction of justice; no error in denying request for reduction for acceptance of responsibility; even though the district court committed significant procedural error when it purported to use certain upward departures to calculate a new advisory guidelines range, the error did not require reversal or resentencing because the sentence was within the properly calculated advisory Guidelines range and was substantively reasonable; restitution order of $1.72 million affirmed.  Judge Bright, concurring.

Judge Bright's concurrence, fully reprinted here, captures the heart of the reasonableness sentencing issue:

The district court imposed the maximum possible penalty under the law (ten years).  I would note that Waldner is a first-time offender, a good wage earner in his earlier positions, and apparently a good father and husband.  The sentence does appear heavy but it was within the discretion of the district court.  Thus, I concur.

September 4, 2009 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

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Comments

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