Bay area lawyer David Prince still maintains his innocence in a stock fraud scandal that cost his clients over $1.1 million. The original 2011 conviction was five counts of wire fraud, though, on appeal in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Prince argued that he never had any intention of purposefully defrauding the 30 investors he assisted. Instead, he admits that he simply made some very bad decisions. Prince’s situation was made worse by the fact that the court considers him a member of a profession that people believe they can trust.
Wire fraud is considered a federal crime (CA Penal Code §186.9) and, to this effect, courts will take many things into consideration when coming to a fair and balanced decision about sentencing. Some of these factors may include the defendant’s criminal record (if any), their economic situation or any other thing that may influence their sentence at all. For example, if a particular defendant has been convicted of a drug offense in many state courts, the judge has the right and the responsibility to hand down a sentence that fits the severity of the crime itself. The object is for the court to be fair and to take individual circumstances into consideration. If the aforementioned individual has a long record of drug offenses, then the court may hand down a more sever sentence. If, however, the individual who has been convicted has been a victim of extenuating circumstances, then the court may be more lenient.
In Prince’s case, his position as a seemingly well-respected Bay area attorney counted against him when it came to sentencing procedures. If he had not been a lawyer, the court argued, then people would have been less likely to trust him to invest their monies wisely.