Federal Sentencing for White Collar Crimes: USSG 2B1.1

January 1, 2015

If you have been charged with a federal white collar crime, you may end up facing sentencing pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guideline’s (USSG) section 2B1.1. This and other related guidelines are very complicated, and you may need a New Jersey white collar criminal defense lawyer to help you understand the charges and penalties you face.

Determining Your Criminal Penalties

The penalties for most white collar crimes like theft, embezzlement, and fraud are determined by applying section 2B1.1 of the sentencing guidelines. That section relates to basic economic offenses and provides a points-system to determine your potential penalties. A New Jersey white collar criminal defense lawyer can explain to you the steps to determine your potential penalty:

  • Base Points. There are base points assigned to every criminal charge. For example, standard fraud typically carries six or seven points.
  • Points Enhancements. Depending upon how much economic loss your crime resulted in, you may receive points enhancement. For example, causing $10,000 of damages will add four points, while creating $100,000 of damages will result in eight additional points.  Also, points are added for such other factors as the use of “sophisticated means” or the “abuse of a position of trust” in allegedly carrying out the crime.
  • Aggravating Circumstances. There are further potential aggravating factors that may increase your sentencing guidelines point total, such as if the victims are elderly or if a minor was involved in the commission of the crime, or if you were a leader or manager of others also involved in the offense.
  • Mitigating Factors. There are also circumstances that may mitigate the penalties you face, such as if you only played a minimal or minor role in the crime or if you accept responsibility.

After assessing the potential factors that could apply to your situation, you then add up your point total to determine your total offense level. A judge will consider this along with your criminal history level to determine your exact sentencing guidelines range — the potential length of time to serve.

You should keep in mind that the sentencing guidelines are only advisory and that a judge may consider other factors in your case, to come to a sentence that is sufficient, but no greater than necessary.

Contact a New Jersey White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

To learn more about the charges you face and potential penalties, schedule a consultation with attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.


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