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33 Months Reasonable For Bank Fraud, Says 11th Cir.

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By Betty Wang, JD on June 19, 2013 3:59 PM

Defendant-appellant Nadia Sol attempted to appeal for a reduced sentence, arguing that it was substantively unreasonable, which the Eleventh Circuit then shot down, affirming the original sentence.

From March 2009 to April 2010, Sol participated in a conspiracy set-up involving the creation of fraudulent bank accounts. Stolen checks were obtained, then deposited into those fake bank accounts, and then the funds were withdrawn before anyone could find out. At one point, Sol even made her minor daughter participate in the depositing.

Sol, then attempted to bring down her 33-month sentence for committing bank fraud to an 18-month one, arguing that 33 months was substantively unreasonable. She listed "extraordinary" family circumstances, claimed that her criminal history was over-represented, and also alleged an "extraordinary" acceptance of responsibility and rehabilitation.

Nadia has four children, three of whom are living with her sister who was having serious medical problems. She also said that she had not been convicted of a fraud-related offense since 2002. Lastly, she claims that she was making very notable efforts in an attempt to turn her life back ground in trying to find employment as a manager at a restaurant.

While the district court did state that they were considering the sentencing guidelines and that Sol's cooperation and her family's circumstances were mitigating circumstances, they ultimately claimed that Sol's children were her responsibility and that because she would be incarcerated, it was also her responsibility to make reasonable arrangements for them. Lastly, they rejected her argument that claimed her criminal history was exaggerated, and pointed out several felony and misdemeanor convictions Sol had that didn't even score criminal history points.

Under the totality of the circumstances, then, the district court determined that the 33-month sentence was very reasonable. It was not only on the low end of her guidelines, but adequately took into account all the circumstances listed. Most importantly, they hoped it would create the dire need to deter fraudulent conduct in the future for her own good and the public's. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

Bottom line: Bank fraud is an "extraordinary" crime that the courts will be not be hesitant to impose sentences as they see fit for in the name of public safety and deterrance.

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