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June 3, 2009

A "bleg" for information about crazy-long prison sentences for white-collar criminals

A Forbes reporter contacted me in her effort to "compile a list of longest federal sentences for white-collar criminals, specifically financial criminals."  I told her that I was not aware of any such list, but that I was willing to ask around via this forum. So, here is how the reporter, who can be reached via this e-link, described what she is seeking:

Looking for information/stories on long federal prison sentences given those convicted of white collar crimes, specifically financial crimes. Time frame I'm looking at is 1985 to the present. And by long, I mean way beyond normal, like 330 years for a $56 million investment scam.

June 3, 2009 at 04:24 PM | Permalink


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After $6 million in criminal damage, the person should be executed for the homicide of a constructive, economic person. That means they have assassinated the economic value of a life to society, and should pay accordingly. These crimes can be easily assessed a value. All speculative valuation should be excluded as violating the procedural due process right of the defendant. Fair market prices are acceptable especially when not close to the $6 million mark. Arson of a $10 million building would be an example. Arson of of a $6.5 million building should be presumed to not be over the threshold, since the value is based on subjectivce feelings of potential buyers and price assessors.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 3, 2009 6:41:05 PM

While not containing a "list" the White Collar Law Profs blog in the same network as this blog would be a good place to look for examples, as would the U.S. Sentencing Commission's many and voluminous reports. One could also do a computerized legal research search. I would suggest the terms "fraud," "convicted," and "8th Amendment" as 8th Amendment arguments are frequently made on appeal in such cases (although they almost never prevail).

Posted by: ohwilleke | Jun 3, 2009 7:59:15 PM

Another place to look would be the press releases of the United States Justice Department, which routinely issues press releases upon securing major convictions. The SEC and IRS also issue press releases upon convictions in their respective areas. Indeed, the Securities Law Prof blog in the law profs blog network also has a number of notable examples.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Jun 3, 2009 8:02:06 PM

In 2004 Donald Tarnawa was sentence to 480 months for bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. The total amount the government calculated was 12 million dollars. However there was zero loss in the bank fraud, 3 million in a wire, and the same 3 million in the money laundering and half of the money laundering charges were moving some of that 3 million to other bank accounts. (one count was moving 3 million from a regular checking account to a money market account at the same bank, with the same name on the account for interest earning reasons.)

Posted by: jessica | Jun 3, 2009 8:24:43 PM


Posted by: Dan Markel | Jun 4, 2009 4:38:50 PM

Perhaps the first list to compile would be what constitutes a "normal" sentence. I would suggest "normal" even eight years ago is now a "miscarriage of justice," and normal white-collar sentences today would be deemed abusive fifteen years ago.

Posted by: Jay Hurst | Jun 5, 2009 11:30:15 PM

I actually knew Donald Tarnawa when he lived in florida. This guy was a real life scammer. He scammed everyone and anyone his whole life. He once had a guy in the Pinellas county jail sign over a 60,000 dollar settlement to bond donny out of jail. This guy was good but apparently not good enough as he will probably die in prison. my email is joshuamcr86@gmail if you want to reach me

Posted by: joshua | Sep 22, 2009 2:59:53 PM

I used to work for Donald Tarnawa, you wouldn't belive the things I could tell you. But he was a good guy, I honestly don't think the guy was guilty of anything but good sales man ship.

Posted by: will | May 14, 2010 4:32:01 PM

good salesmeship, the guy is wanted all over the country, FL,Ohio,Colorado. One thing to scam buisnesses but whenyou involve your friends and family that;s dead wrong.

Posted by: josh | Nov 13, 2010 4:28:05 PM

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Posted by: charms thomas sabo | Dec 16, 2010 3:01:19 AM

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