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Bargaining can make a lot of sense in difficult situations

Many of our regular readers will recall the Orlando investment service firm, Capital Blu Management. The company was back in the news a few days ago when a Florida man pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud.

Sometimes people wonder why anyone would plead guilty. What's in it for the accused and what's in it for prosecutors?

In the recent Capital Blu case, the man now faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison plus an order requiring the defendant to pay $11.9 million in restitution to victims.

It can seem at first glance that he had little to gain by agreeing to plead guilty. However, by agreeing to the plea, he and his criminal defense attorney managed to get some benefits; the government agreed to not charge the defendant with any other crimes relating to Capital Blu Management's fraud. In addition, the government will recommend to the Court a sentence at the low end of the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range.

The prosecution benefits by not being forced to trial and by potentially receiving assistance from the defendant to provide evidence against others.

In this particular situation, the defendant and his attorney determined that it was in the best interests of the accused to negotiate with prosecutors. In other situations, defendants and their defense attorneys may believe that the charges are incorrect and that a trial will vindicate the accused.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Former Orlando currency trader pleads guilty in investment scheme," Richard Burnett, July 31, 2014