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Lawyer claims misconduct in federal crime trial

Here's an interesting story about alleged fraud that took place in Pennsylvania. According to the May 22 news, a man from Philadelphia has been found guilty in a $14.6 million mortgage-fraud scheme. He reportedly victimized 35 people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but now he's looking to appeal that conviction.

Fraud is a serious charge and conviction to have on your record, as this man likely knows. Trials are expensive, and in this case, that might explain why he claimed he had no money to hire an attorney at the time of his original trial. When the U.S. District Judge learned this, she granted him a public defender who was paid for by the taxpayers, since he had a right to an attorney.

The thing that some people think isn't right is the fact that the man has now suddenly been able to hire an expensive and well-known defense attorney. How did this happen? Fortunately, there is an easy explanation, according to the lawyer. He claims that the man's friends have hired the attorney, because if they had known that the situation was going to end up the way it did, they would have hired a defense attorney previously.

The defense attorney has allegedly filed an appeal that shows potential errors in trial, prosecutorial misconduct and even sentencing errors. If this is true, the case could be retried or sentencing could be reduced. The man has been sentenced to five years in prison for wire and mail fraud, which he is appealing, so that will have to be looked into. According to the news, though, the sentencing is actually less than the federal law guidelines suggest as a penalty.

Source: Philly.com, "'Broke' mortgage fraudster hires Peruto for appeal" Sam Wood, May. 22, 2014

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