Retired Lawyer Pleads Guilty To Financial Crimes Related To An Investment Scheme
All defendants in criminal cases have the right to plead not guilty and go to trial, but more than 90 percent of defendants plead guilty. It is not only the defendants who cannot afford their own lawyers and are represented by public defenders who plead guilty; some of this number includes wealthy defendants who can take their pick of criminal defense lawyers. Defendants and their lawyers weigh the risks and benefits of entering a guilty or not guilty plea. If the evidence against you is compelling, and if the prosecution obtained it through entirely legal means, then sometimes seeking a plea deal is the best strategy. Defendants convicted at trial can sometimes face long prison sentences, even for nonviolent offenses such as financial crimes. If you are being accused of a financial crime and are trying to decide which plea to enter, contact a West Palm Beach white collar crime lawyer.
Octogenarian Could Face 20-Year Prison Sentence Even After Pleading Guilty
Earlier this month, Craig Sherman entered a guilty plea in connection to a financial crimes case that began years earlier. In 2013, when Sherman was still working as a lawyer for a municipality in Miami-Dade County, he began collecting money from friends and colleagues. He led them to believe that they were investing in construction projects in which Sherman played a leading role, and that he would pay them back with interest when the project became profitable. Instead, he used the money for his own personal expenses. As new investors joined the scheme, he used their contributions to pay earlier investors, to make them think that their investments had yielded a profit; this practice is sometimes known as a Ponzi scheme. By the time the scheme fell apart in 2020, the investors had lost approximately $7 million. No construction projects ever resulted from the money that the investors paid to Sherman.
In August 2023, Sherman, now 80, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. The Fox 29 website did not go into details about the history of the case against Sherman and did not indicate which other charges, if any, he had previously faced. As part of his plea deal, the court ordered him to pay restitution to the victims of the fraud. In financial crimes cases, restitution is money that convicted defendants must pay to victims to compensate them for the financial losses they suffered as a result of the crime, similarly to how a civil court would order a defendant to pay damages to the victims if they had filed a civil lawsuit. A sentencing date has not yet been set for Sherman, but even after the guilty plea, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.