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2nd Circuit: Probation for Lawyer in $100M Fraud Too Lenient

Posted Mar 18, 2008 2:16 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A former general counsel for a hotel chain apparently is going to have to serve time for his role in a $100 million bank fraud scheme, according to a federal appeals court ruling this week.

The New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out both the term of probation given to Sanford Freedman, former general counsel of Days Inn, by a federal district judge and a prison sentence of a year and a day for the company's former CFO, James Cutler. Saying that this punishment was too lenient, given the magnitude of the crime and their key participation in it, the appellate panel remanded the case back to the Southern District of New York for resentencing, reports the New York Law Journal.

Although the prosecution had contended that Freedman should get nearly 10 years in prison, under federal sentencing guidelines, and the district judge found that a prison term would ordinarily be imposed, she didn't give one to Freedman. Instead, Judge Loretta Preska found the former general counsel, who was 69 and suffering health problems at the time of his sentencing, had already sustained "just punishment," the legal publication writes, because he had been publicly prosecuted, publicly humiliated as a result, and lost his law license because of the prosecution, among other consequences.

However, the appeals court noted that such consequences are "hardly unusual."

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