THIRTY-NINE COUNTS OF EXPLOITATION OF ELDERLY BY FINANCIAL TRANSACTION, MONEY LAUNDERING AND GRAND THEFT OF OVER $50,000 VICTIM OVER 65. CLIENT FACES 43 TO 280 YEARS INCARCERATION
DOWNWARD DEPARTURE GRANTED CLIENT RECEIVES 10 YEARS INCARCERATION
Date: June, 2018
Court: Circuit Court for Escambia County, Pensacola, Florida
Our client retained us to represent her only at sentencing after losing a jury trial while represented by another attorney who charged her a six-figure retainer. The client was found guilty of all the charges – 39 counts of Elder Abuse by Financial Transaction, Money Laundering and Grand Theft. Her prison exposure on the low end of Florida’s Sentencing Guidelines was 43 years incarceration. Her upper end of the Guidelines was 280 years incarceration.
The victim was a very well-known retired Marine General and a fighter pilot. He had numerous connections in Escambia County including members of the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office.
On this case, we employed a team concept utilizing the services of Dr. Heather Holmes, Psy. D., and Mitigation Specialist, Betty Fuentes. Frankly, we knew we had our work cut out for us and thought that our client would receive somewhere between 43 and 50 years incarceration in state prison. The facts of the case as alleged and proven by the State were terrible. We were hoping that relief might come on appeal.
Despite having a very limited amount of time to prepare this case for sentencing, we were very successful. There will literally thousands of bank records and CPA reports to examine.
The sentencing proceeding lasted for close to five hours. We moved for a downward departure sentence based upon the need for restitution outweighed the need for incarceration and also the failure of the defendant to appreciate to criminal nature of her conduct. A downward departure sentence is available in very limited circumstances and in most cases, is not granted. First, the attorney must prove that there is a legitimate legal means to grant the downward departure sentence and second, the attorney must prove that this is the proper case for the Judge to impose such a sentence.
The end result was that our client who at 44 years of age was looking at an effective life sentence, was sentence to 10 years incarceration followed by probation.
Had it not been for the team approach to this method our client most certainly would have suffered an effective life sentence.