Monday, June 10, 2024

Multiple Counts

 


What does it mean in a criminal prosecution to be charged with multiple counts for a crime?  


Well, let's say for example a crime of honest services fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1346, occurred where “an elected official violated his duty to voters by accepting a bribe to vote a certain way”*; and if he took a bribe on multiple occasions then he could be charged for each time he took a bribe.  


If he were to commit a similar scheme to defraud the public by mail, then he could be held criminally liable for each letter or each instance of mail fraud.  


The federal fraud by mail or wire statutes, of which the honest services fraud statute is a part, provides for a fine or a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years, or both.*


“Prison sentences could total up to well over 100 years”* if more than five fraudulent letters were mailed.  


Keep in mind that aiding and abetting in crimes, such as mail fraud and honest services fraud will carry the same penalty weight as the principal offender.


Again, penalties for one count of mail fraud or honest service fraud are punishable by a fine and imprisonment for up to 20 years. 


Those convicted of one count of enhanced mail fraud can be fined up to $1 million and imprisoned for up to 30 years.*


In addition, the RICO, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act also extends to mail and wire fraud. 


Seven states (Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island, Georgia, and Indiana) also have RICO laws.**


Those convicted of RICO face fines up to $25,000 and sentences of up to 20 years in prison per racketeering count.


Know that doubling down on crimes multiple times will only add to the number of counts charged and can add up to much longer prison sentences and greater fines.








*https://www.findlaw.com/criminal/criminal-charges/honest-services-fraud.html

**https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/rico-racketeer-influenced-and-corrupt-organizations-act-statute








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