Larry Wilcox, famous in part for playing Erik Estrada's partner Jon Baker on CHiPs, completed Debt School last week to satisfy part of his sentence for securities fraud. Wilcox previously pled guilty to
Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud, in connection with a scheme to manipulate the price and volume of "penny stocks" in order to unlawfully generate stock sales. Wilcox was subsequently sentenced to three years probation, 500 hours of community service and to attend debt school.
Federal prosecutors have extremely limited discretion in criminal prosecutions. Once an indictment is brought, it is the policy of the United States Attorney's Office that they must seek a conviction for the most serious offense (or "top count") in the indictment. That means, unless the attorney can show their higher-ups that they can't prove the offense or some other compelling reason, the U.S. Attorney cannot "plea bargain down" a charge to a lower offense.
In addition, white collar offenses carry extremely harsh sentences in federal courts. For instance, a single act of Bank Fraud is punishable by up to thirty (30) years in prison. Sentences are generally prescribed by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, and those guidelines significantly impact the federal judges' decision regarding appropriate sentences. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines may dissuade judges from giving lesser sentences or granting probation in many cases. Moreover, many sentences are increased based upon the amount actual or intended loss, the number of victims, the sophistication of the offense, and/or if the offense is part of an ongoing criminal enterprise, and numerous other bases.
For these reasons, it is critical that you contact a Las Vegas White Collar Crimes Attorney immediately if you believe or suspect that you are a target of a federal criminal investigation. A Las Vegas White Collar Crimes Attorney can assist you with analyzing the facts of your case and identifying appropriate defenses. The Las Vegas White Collar Crimes Lawyer can also talk to the U.S. Attorney's Office in an attempt to resolve a case before an indictment is brought in order to limit your exposure. If that is not possible, the Las Vegas White Collar Crimes Lawyer can assist you in developing the most aggressive litigation strategy possible to protect your legal rights.