With federal sentencing guidelines, you start with the criminal statute that someone was charged with. Once you have determined the statute; you identify the appropriate section of the guidelines that apply. You apply the relevant specific offense characteristics to each case and then determine the defendant’s criminal history, category, and role in the offense. When you have evaluated all of those factors, the result corresponds with a guideline range on the sentencing table. This is a general outline of how sentencing for an embezzlement case is calculated under the guidelines. With that said, an experienced DC federal embezzlement lawyer may be able to minimize the harm by advocating on the behalf of the accused. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.
Embezzlement cases are regularly charged as fraud cases under the wire, bank, or mail fraud statutes. Normally, there is no mandatory minimum that applies in such cases. However, the guidelines apply in every federal case, including embezzlement, fraud, and other federal criminal cases. Although they are no longer mandatory, the guidelines help reduce the disparity in sentencing and were intended to create more consistent sentencing outcomes for defendants that are similarly situated. Prior to the implementation of the guidelines, there was no consistency in sentences given to similar defendants. Today, in the post-Booker landscape, defense counsel has the opportunity to request a judge to impose a sentence that varies from the guidelines.
There are four zones in the guideline sentencing table, ranging from Zone A to Zone D in order of severity. Zone A is the least severe zone; Zone D is the most severe zone.
The zone a person falls into is determined by the offense level and the criminal history category that is applicable to a defendant.
For a Zone A sentence, the judge can impose a sentence of probation. Zones B and C are split sentences where some level of confinement or special conditions and some level of probation would be appropriate. Zone D sentences require confinement in prison.
Depending on how an embezzlement case is charged, the base offense level can be either six or seven. If the underlying statute has a maximum sentence of 20 years or more, the offense level is seven. Otherwise, the offense level is six.
A defendant’s sentence in an embezzlement case is often driven by the circumstances of the offense, including the number of victims and the loss amount. The loss amount is probably the single most influential driver of one’s recommended sentence. The greater the loss amount, the higher the recommended sentence will be for the defendant.
With that said, the manner in which an embezzlement is committed by the defendant is also directly related to whether a specific offense characteristic is applicable to the defendant’s case. How one carries out their offense can directly translate into a higher offense level. Usually, the greater the number of specific offense characteristics that apply to a particular case, the higher the sentence the defendant faces.
People with a criminal history are more likely to face a higher sentence than those without a criminal history. Those with a more extensive history of past crimes face even more severe guideline sentences. The guidelines are designed to treat more harshly defendants who are repeat offenders and to treat less harshly those who are first time offenders and those who have only been minimally involved in prior convictions and criminal acts.
At the sentencing hearing in federal court, there is a reduced bar of entry for evidence. A defendant can, through his attorney, introduce character letters to demonstrate mitigating factors to the judge. The DC federal embezzlement attorney could also use the statement of facts in the case. There could be things found in discovery that might be beneficial to the defendant that can also be introduced at sentencing. Usually, almost all evidence that could be relevant to someone’s sentence can be introduced at a sentencing hearing and is usually done as an attachment to the sentencing memo.