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Lesser Sentence for Business Owner, Struggling to Keep Business Afloat

Wed 27th Feb 2013, Case Successes

A federal judge in Orange County, California, acknowledged the pressure of trying to maintain a struggling business during the economic recession of 2008 as a factor to consider in imposing sentence in a business fraud case. On February 25, 2013, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney sentenced Cheryl Fu to 36 months based on her guilty plea to bank fraud. Government attorneys had argued for a higher sentence of 46 months in prison. Counsel for creditors of Fu’s failed business had sought a far greater sentence.

Defense counsel, Steven Jay Katzman and Ariana Seldman Hawbecker of Bienert | Katzman, argued that a lesser sentence was warranted because the crime was not the result of greed or evil motive, but was born out of difficult financial circumstances. The Court agreed, finding that “…this was not a fraud from the outset” but “…was a very successful business for years. It came on difficult financial times and unfortunately, and tragically, Ms. Fu gave in to the economic pressure and lied.” United States v. Cheri Fu, Case No. 11-00059-CJC, United States District Court, Central District of California, Santa Ana Division.