We represent lots of people convicted of federal white collar crimes, and in many of these cases, our clients have defrauded or caused losses to individual or institutional victims. We always try to have our client pay back to any victim as early as possible, if the client was truly responsible for the victim’s loss. Repayment is not only the right thing, it also helps us in trying to get the best possible sentence. However, we often run into the situation where the client needs to avoid prison in order to keep working to pay off the defrauded victims. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, right here in Atlanta, recently issued an opinion that reversed a criminal sentence imposed on a woman who was unable to make full restitution. The case is United States v. Pate, and can be found here.
Ms. Pate is a native of Polynesia, and she married a man from the mainland when she was very young. By all accounts, she was totally dependent on her husband when the couple moved to South Florida. Ms. Pate also worked in a bank and had befriended an elderly couple who were customers of the bank. When her husband died leaving her completely alone, doctors and friends all noted that she went into a tailspin. She ended up embezzling about $176,000 from the elderly couple. When confronted, she confessed, and pled guilty to embezzlement by the employee of a federally insured bank. Continue reading