On Dec. 30, a federal judge reportedly rejected a former Pennsylvania business man's appeal to withdraw his guilty plea. The man, the 54-year-old former CEO of Le-Nature, was convicted of multiple money laundering charges in an $875 million accounting fraud case.
The defendant argued that he was not properly represented by his attorney during the case, causing him to plead guilty to the charges in 2011. When he pleaded guilty, he allegedly admitted to being involved in the scheme by increasing the amount of money on the company's financial statements. He reportedly obtained $875 million in credit before the company was forced into bankruptcy. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a result. He also argued that the government seized nearly $1 million worth of jewels, which he claims were not related to the fraud case. In total, the former CEO had more than $30 million in assets seized, which were then reportedly used to repay creditors.
Ultimately, the senior U.S. District judge ruled that, while the former CEO was welcome to pursue the assets, the appeal was otherwise baseless. The former CEO had also pleaded guilty to other charges associated with another money laundering scheme, where it was believed that he obtained $30 million in order to fund a lavish lifestyle and purchase personal items, including jewelry and on a mansion.
When someone is accused of fraud, they may potentially face serious penalties if they are convicted, including asset seizure and prison. However, there are several defenses that an accused person could potentially use depending on the allegations and the evidence the prosecution has against the defendant. For example, the defendant could argue that they were not involved in the alleged fraud or any of the related business practices.
Source: Lancaster Online, "Judge rejects fraud appeal by Le-Nature's ex-CEO", December 30, 2014