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New Jersey man sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy

There are many ways to approach criminal defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney may recommend negotiating a plea deal, or perhaps zealously arguing the case before a jury is better. However, it is critical to consider the specific facts of each case before determining a course of action.

Today, a New Jersey man was sentenced to spend 14 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to white collar crimes. The decision to plead guilty was not made lightly, as it certainly required him to spend some time in prison. However, federal law recommends a sentence up to 30 years. As he will serve less than half of that, pleading guilty may have been the appropriate course of action in his situation.

The 47-year-old man was running a company called U.S. Mortgage Corp between 2004 and 2009. Authorities suspected the man of conspiring with others to commit mortgage fraud by selling credit union loans to Fannie Mae but using the proceeds for his own corporate and personal benefit.

The man pleaded guilty to two white collar crimes: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Together, the crimes could have carried a very heavy penalty.

The sentencing judge considered many factors in determining the 14 year sentence. First, the plea agreement the man made called for a 12 year prison term. Secondly, the man has cooperated with federal investigators to help credit unions and Fannie Mae recover some of the money that was lost because of his alleged actions. This is a situation in which pleading guilty may have been in the man's best interest.

Source: Reuters News, "NJ man gets 14 yrs for $140 mln mortgage fraud," 24 Feb 2011

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