Back at it for the new year and I couldn’t help but pass along a link to a news article today concerning wire fraud and the sentence imposed by Judge Winmill. Check the story here.

Apparently the defendant in the case had wired money from his employer’s bank account to pay his personal mortgage and other stuff. Taking money from someone else to pay your debts never works out well in the long run. While we may diverge on some questions of law – there is universal agreement that theft is morally wrong – and the law makes it a felony. The Feds take a very dim view of this!

The defendant in the case was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay $607K in restitution. That sounds like a lot of mortgage payments and personal stuff that he must now account for! But my point here is simple – any federal felony is likely to result in serious consequences, including federal prison and big fines or restitution. And there is no parole in the federal system – if you get a three year sentence you serve three years, less any "good time" credit you earn.

So get help immediately if you are contacted by authorities about any claim you have taken money that does not belong to you. AND DO NOT TALK TO INVESTIGATORS without FIRST having talked to a lawyer. Whatever you tell the investigators will limit your options going forward. We frequently have folks who contact us and claim that they did not steal anything, but they have said things to investigators that make their claim of innocence look like a lie. You can’t outsmart or outplay the investigator – so wait to explain your side until you have a lawyer.

And then there is the obvious: do not steal!