White-collar crimes, such as insider trading, are receiving more and more attention as news of alleged corruption in some of the world's largest financial institutions continues to make headlines across California. Distrust and public ire previously reserved for public officials, is now being directed at the executives and CEO's that run these multi-national institutions.
From Bernie Madoff to Goldman Sachs, trust in the financial system has been damaged. This widespread public perception is likely to push prosecutors to aggressively pursue any cases involving a white collar crime supposedly committed by someone in the financial sector. This public and political pressure can make it more difficult for those charged in California to receive a fair trial or sentence.
Among the headlines feeding these sentiments, another alleged crime was recently reported. In this case, a former mortgage broker was sentenced to over two years in federal prison for his part in a supposed insider trading scheme. According to federal authorities, the former broker was the middleman in one of the longest-running insider trading schemes in United States history.
The scheme involved three men, each of whom admitted to using advance information on company mergers, according to federal investigators. A day before this particular man was sentenced, the other two individuals involved in the controversy were sentenced for their part in the conspiracy. One of the men, a former attorney, received a 12-year sentence, the longest ever for an insider trading case.
The scheme, which allegedly netted the men $37 million between 2006 and 2011, went back as far as the mid 1990's. The bad press surrounding the financial industry could have unfairly contributed to the especially stringent sentences. As public officials continue to feel pressure from the public to pursue white collar crime cases aggressively, the hope is that the courts will be able to remain unbiased and provide everyone accused of a crime with a fair trial.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "NY man sentenced in $37M insider trading scheme," June 5, 2012