California residents may have heard that Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison by a judge in Virginia. He was charged with bank and tax fraud, which the judge acknowledged were serious charges. The judge said that Manafort's actions were akin to stealing from every taxpayer in the United States. In addition to the jail time, Manafort was ordered to repay $24.8 million and pay a $50,000 fine.
Manafort had asked that the judge show leniency in determining his sentence. His attorneys pointed to the defendant's age, health issues and first-time offender status as reasons why he deserved to serve as little time as possible. Sentencing guidelines from the prosecution called for Manafort to spend up to 24 years in prison. However, the judge in the case said that such a sentence would fly in the face of precedent.
The defense had argued that another person was responsible for the crimes that Manafort was being charged with. Ultimately, a jury disagreed by convicting him of eight of the 18 counts that he faced. Although Manafort told the judge that he was humiliated and ashamed, he did not actually apologize for his actions during a three-minute speech during the sentencing proceeding. That was something the judge pointed out when handing down his sentence.
If a person is under investigation for or has been charged with fraud, legal counsel may be able to resolve the matter in a favorable manner. In some cases, charges may be dropped before a case gets to trial. It is also possible that an attorney will help negotiate a plea deal that reduces or eliminates the amount of time a person spends in jail. An attorney may point to a lack of evidence or other factors to justify a plea's terms.