Was Martin Shkreli’s sentence for federal securities fraud fair?

Was Martin Shkreli’s sentence for federal securities fraud fair?

“To carry out these frauds, Shkreli was all things to all people.”  – Government’s Sentencing Memo to the Judge

securities-fraud-sentence-shkreli

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

Martin Shkreli’s sentence of 7 years (84 months) for federal securities fraud was much, much less than his federal sentencing guidelines range of about 27 years to 33 years.  The government attorneys argued that he should get at least 15 years, while his attorneys argued for 12 to 18 months. In the end, the judge split the baby and gave him 7 years.

So, although Shkreli’s sentence was well above the 12-18 months his defense team asked for, it was still far below the advisory sentencing guidelines range and less than half of the government’s request of 15 years.

So, how did he do?  Was his sentence a fair one?

Being sentenced in federal court is one situation where you do not want to be above-average.  According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, over the past four or five years the average sentence for convictions of securities fraud, like Shkreli’s, has gone from a little over 6 years down to about 4 years.  So, Shkreli got an above-average 7 years.

Despite the unique and colorful circumstances surrounding Shkreli (including his wacky pronouncements before and during trial), his attorney, Benjamin Brafman. was smart in his submissions and arguments to the judge, distinguishing his client from other defendants who are convicted of this type of offense.  Although not that many federal securities fraud cases are brought across the country, in 2016 alone 14 of those were sentenced in the Eastern District of New York, where Shkreli’s case was handled.

His attorney, Brafman had a lot to work with in arguing to the judge at sentencing, including that Shkreli was a first-time, non-violent offender, and most importantly, that there was no need for restitution to any victims as no one was out any money.  Of course, the forfeiture portion of Shkreli’s case got plenty of coverage, especially because an album by the Wu-Tang Clan worth a few million appeared in a federal court filing.

The takeaway is that while Shkreli may have been “all things to all people,” as the prosecutor suggested, while he was committing the acts that led him to being sentenced in federal court, and he may have said a number of outrageous things before and during trial, it appears that the judge in this case concluded he was simply another offender up for sentencing. The judge considered the arguments both for and against Shkreli, applied the law, and seemed to find a good middle ground at 7 years.

As a federal criminal defense lawyer who has stood next to famous (or infamous) clients at sentencing, one thing I always ask for at sentencing is that the judge not single out my client for being in the public eye, or for choosing to take a shot at trial.  The judge seems to have appropriately done just that in Shkreli’s case, even though Shkreli and his legal team surely are disappointed in how much time he got.

Successful plea agreement in high profile Federal Criminal Case against International Cyber-hacker Sergey Vovnenko

Successful plea agreement in high profile Federal Criminal Case against International Cyber-hacker Sergey Vovnenko

Defense Team led by Tim Anderson, Esq., Secures Favorable Sentence in High-Profile Hacking Case

cyber-crime

Newark, New Jersey – February 21, 2017
A team of federal criminal defense attorneys led by Tim Anderson of Red Bank, New Jersey, concluded its representation last Thursday in New Jersey federal court, of a client charged with identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a high-profile hacking case. Federal District Judge Esther Salas sentenced Sergey Vovnenko to 41 months in prison, in a case in which Vovnenko potentially faced over 30 years in prison.

Vovnenko, whom the U.S. Attorney’s Office called “the administrator of two criminal online hacking forums,” was sentenced last week to 41 months in prison for his role in an international cybercrime operation.

Vovnenko’s case began in 2015, when the United States Attorney’s Office of New Jersey extradited him from Italy to New Jersey, to face a six-count federal indictment for his role in an international cybercrime conspiracy, including four counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of unauthorized access of a computer, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

After Vovnenko arrived in the United States, he retained Tim Anderson and his team to negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Months of work and negotiations by defense counsel resulted in the Government agreeing to dismiss four of the six counts against Vovnenko, and with Vovnenko pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A, which also carried a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

At sentencing, Tim Anderson and his team successfully argued Vovnenko’s case before the Court, and Judge Salas sentenced Vovnenko to 41 months in prison, while also crediting him for the time he spent in jail in Italy awaiting his eventual extradition to the United States.

During sentencing and post-sentencing interviews, Anderson credited Vovnenko with having “changed for the good” and believed that Judge Salas treated Vovnenko “very fairly.”

The defense team was led by attorney Tim Anderson of Red Bank, New Jersey, and included Mr. Anderson’s associate, attorney Daniel Petersen, and Vovnenko’s co-counsel, attorney Eugenie Voitkevich of Woodbridge, New Jersey.

Also, see as reported by CBS News and Law 360

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Tim Anderson Law is a boutique criminal defense firm that focuses on federal and state criminal defense, with over 24 years of federal criminal trial experience.   Through over 20 years of successful defenses, Tim Anderson has earned an AV® (“Preeminent”) peer-review rating, the highest possible, from the Martindale-Hubbell nation-wide directory of attorneys, for preeminent legal ability and highest ethical standards.  Tim Anderson Law has obtained many dismissals, not-guilty verdicts, decisions not to prosecute, substantial downward departures in sentencing, reduced charges, and favorable plea agreements in the Newark, Camden, and Trenton federal courts, as well as in Superior Courts throughout New Jersey.   The firm has significant experience and knowledge of the intricacies of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which has led to many outstanding outcomes for its federal clients.

Tim Anderson Law | 225 Broad St. Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 212-2812  | https://timandersonlaw.com | tim@timandersonlaw.com

Eugenie A. Voitkevich is a solo practitioner in Woodbridge, New Jersey, who is fluent in Russian and focuses on both civil and criminal litigation.

The Law Office of Eugenie A. Voitkevich | Woodbridge, New Jersey |  (732) 407-1047 or  email: eav@triallawyernj.com | triallawyernj.com or russianlawyernewjersey.com