New York Federal Criminal Practice Blog
November 17, 2008

EDNY Judge Weinstein Sentences Whistle-Blower in Fraud Case to Probation, Departing from Guideline Range of 210 to 240 Months

Judge Weinstein has issued several decisions lately in the Newsday fraud prosecution, previously discussed here and here, providing his statements of reasons for the probationary sentences he is imposing on all nine defendants.  One, United States v. McKillop, 06 CR 336 (JBW), 2008 WL 4862381 (E.D.N.Y. September 8, 2008), involved a whistle-blower in the case, who “hesitantly” conspired with unindicted newspaper executives to inflate circulation numbers and defraud thousands of investors.  Departing from the applicable guideline range of 210 to 240 months, the court imposed a sentence of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine, with this quotable nugget (that is sadly of far broader application than just this particular fraud scheme): “A sentence of imprisonment in light of the fact that individuals and entities more culpable than this defendant were not prosecuted ‘may work to promote ... derision[ ] of the law if the law is viewed as merely a means to dispense harsh punishment without taking into account the real conduct and circumstances involved in sentencing’”  (quoting United States v. Gall, 128 S.Ct. 586, 599 (2007)).

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