Different sentences for white collar crimes
News reports out of Pennsylvania show that white collar crimes offenders may be less likely to serve time in jail after they are convicted. Several examples of this criminal law phenomenon have been cited in recent months, as three people have been arrested for theft from organizations during the past three years. One of the women was accused of taking thousands from employees in Allegheny County, while another allegedly stole $60,000 in traffic fines from a judge’s office. Finally, another man gambled away $700,000 that he had reportedly taken from a local health system. Although it may seem unfair that these convicted criminals are allowed to walk free, legal experts say there is a reason for that decision. Judges generally allow the individuals to go free because they cannot earn very much money in jail. Instead, sentencing the person to probation will allow continued work, which could help the offender pay off large financial obligations. One law professor says that putting someone in jail may actually make the problem worse. Still, many oppose the perceived inequality in penalties that are handed down for white collar crimes. One legal expert also says that the trend may be changing after Bernie Madoff’s 2009 sentencing, which led to a 150-year prison term. That man was accused of mishandling billions of dollars’ worth of investments. The fact remains, though, that at least three white collar crimes defendants in Pennsylvania avoided jail time for their alleged crimes. One woman received a six-year probation term, while another is serving time in a rehabilitative probation program. The second woman’s record will be cleared after she pays off her restitution. Finally, the male defendant mentioned earlier in this story received a five-year probation sentence, along with stipulations for alternative housing. Criminal defendants who are facing penalties for white collar crimes may benefit from consulting a qualified Pennsylvania attorney. These professionals can help those facing criminal charges learn more about their legal options. Further, attorneys can educate defendants about restitution and other criminal penalties.