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Defendant admits guilt but escapes punishment because of old age

An elderly man admitted that in the mid-1980s, he created an elaborate fraud scheme in which he dogged taxes on over $10 million worth of high-end caviar that was unlawfully imported from Russia and Iran. The then-69-year-old man was indicted in 1987, but he posted bail and fled the United States.

The man was able to evade authorities for a significant period of time until he was arrested last year abroad while traveling. However, in an unusual happening, the presiding judge decided that the man will not have to serve any more time behind bars for his crimes because the judge says that the "case is old and, more importantly, the defendant is old." Further, the judge felt that since there was a basic lack of victims, it didn't seem necessary to throw this elderly gentleman behind bars.

The man has paid $3 million in restitution and he will be deported, so he is not without consequences, but he is extremely lucky that this is the entire penalty he will face. The man shows much remorse for his actions, saying of the happenings that they were "the saddest, darkest moment of my life besides the loss of my parents."

While this man likely had a strong criminal defense, there does appear to be some element of good fortune involved in these circumstances. It is certainly not safe for any resident in New Jersey to assume that when they are being charged or prosecuted for white collar crimes, they will be tried by a lenient and forgiving judge. It is critical to defend in an aggressive manner against such charges in pursuit of the best possible outcome.

Residents of New Jersey may be inclined to think that white collar crime convictions see lesser sentences because it is typically the case that no bodily harm befalls any victims in such a scenario. However, in many instances of fraud or embezzlement, there are significant sums of money at stake, and conviction of such a crime could be met with serious consequences.

Source: New Jersey Herald, "NY caviar distributor gets leniency in fraud scam," Larry Neumeister, Jan. 7, 2013

  • Our firm has experience defending individuals facing similar charges in New Jersey. For more information, please refer to our Atlantic City white collar crime page.

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