Thursday, August 31, 2006
When Is A Victim Not A Victim?
Or, I stole $30 Million But I Really Didn't Hurt Anyone
Bill Erpenbeck swindled homeowners and banks out of $33 million dollars. For his crimes he received 30 years in prison. Today Erpenbeck and his attorneys went to court to ask for a sentence reduction.
If you read through the stories linked to on the referred page, you will find Erpenbeck's antics and crimes would make most organized crime bosses jealous. What I loved was his attorneys' reasoning.
Because the victims he defrauded were eventually compensated, the attorneys argued, they didn't count as victims under the law. The attorney said that as the number of victims goes down, so should Erpenbeck's sentence.So if you steal from someone and give it back after being caught, it's not really stealing. I'm sure about the details of the claim that the homeowners are victims because they can't prove they lost money. I do know Erpenbeck had the best legal services his stolen money could buy.
Erpenbeck claimed that because only the banks can show that they lost money, they're the only victims recognized under law -- not the homebuyers.
Since Erpendbeck's conviction the guidelines have apparently changed for sentencing for this type of crime. Erpenbeck wanted his sentence reduced to 15 years. The judge reduced it to 25. Still more than the current guidelines. Good job, judge!
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