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October 10, 2005

Interesting perspective on white-collar sentencing

The Oregonian on Sunday had this interesting story about white-collar sentencing in state and federal courts.  The piece spotlights that, despite long sentences in some high-profile cases recently, many "first-time embezzlers often get probation in Oregon and usually fail to fulfill requirements of restitution orders."  Here are some interesting details from the article:

Compared with other criminals, [white-collar criminals] serve lighter prison sentences — if they do time at all — and it's often tough to get them to repay their victims.

In Multnomah County, for instance, authorities have collected about 11 percent of all restitution ordered in theft and aggravated theft convictions since 2000.... Last year, the U.S. District Court in Oregon ordered $10.6 million in restitution — most of it for federal white-collar crimes — and collected $1.8 million....

In 2002, nearly 80 percent of those convicted of first-degree theft, which includes embezzlement, landed on probation, according to the most recent figures from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.  The average sentence for those who were sent to prison that year was about 12 months.

Sentences handed down in federal court aren't much tougher when it comes to clever scam artists and crooked loan officers. In 2003, Oregon's federal judges handed down an average sentence of 16 months in white-collar cases — one month more than the national average — and far less than average sentences handed down in weapons and drug crimes.

The article goes on to note, however, that "not all embezzlers get away with light sentences. The average sentences mask disparities at both the state and federal level.  In some cases, it depends on where the crime was committed."

October 10, 2005 at 12:20 AM | Permalink


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It must be noted that many restitution orders exceed the defendant's assets, and so are incapable of being fulfilled.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Oct 10, 2005 9:38:18 AM

Marc is correct, although the MVRA specifically tells judges that they cannot take the defendant's ability to pay into account when fashioning the amount of a restitution order. However, they can take it into account when fashioning a repayment schedule.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 10, 2005 1:13:12 PM

Brenda Mott got 9 months in a work release program after being convicted of stealing over 550,000 dollars from the city of Canton, PA.
Her husband was Judge Mott who was kicked out on a retention vote recently.
he claimed that her sentence was normal. It pays to have a judge for a husband.

Posted by: joe dupont | Nov 21, 2007 10:55:59 AM

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