Monday, November 04, 2013

Page Gets Probation For Real Estate Fraud Conviction

The U.S. Attorney in the northern district of Indiana asked the federal district court judge, Robert Miller, Jr., to go easy on Page after it botched the case against his alleged co-conspirators, John Bales and William Spencer, by failing to offer the most damaging evidence against them, resulting in their acquittal. Judge Miller granted the prosecution its request and then some. Page will get two years of probation instead of the 14-month sentence prosecutors urged. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. That forfeited money former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi allowed his drug-dealing client to retain to pay the legal bill he owed Page can cover the fine as a courtesy for cutting Brizzi in on a 50% stake in the real estate deal without investming a dime will cover that. According to the IBJ's Cory Schouten, Judge Miller scoffed at the prosecutor's request to sentence Page to jail time.
The judge scoffed at the government's sentencing request for Page, noting the crime resulted in no losses to either the lender or the state. He said Page, a father of three without a criminal record, does not pose a danger of offending again.
Page spoke briefly during the hearing, after taking a few moments to compose himself.
"Hopefully a man is not defined by one action," he said, before turning away from the judge to thank a courtroom full of friends and family members.
Page declined to talk after the sentencing hearing, but his attorney Robert W. Hammerle described the ruling as "utter relief." Hammerle described the offense as an "isolated technical violation" that is actually quite common.
The judge seemed to agree, noting that he hadn't seen "many or any" cases with "less aggravating circumstances."
The article says Bales will lose his license to practice law in Indiana because of his conviction. That remains to be seen. No charges have been initiated against him by the disciplinary commission yet.

UPDATE: If you don't have much confidence in our criminal justice system, this won't disabuse you of that notion. A former Simon executive, Mark Palombaro of Carmel, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison by a federal judge in Pennsylvania for receiving kickbacks from a construction company to which he steered business while he was employed by Simon Property Group. Can someone explain to me why Bales, Page, Brizzi, et al. can use our taxpayer dollars in self-dealing schemes without consequences, while the federal government is prosecuting a private citizen for earning money under the table while performing work for his employer in a way that didn't financially harm his employer? I'm not condoning Palombaro's actions, but it looks to me like this case should have been handled strictly as a civil matter between Simon and Palombaro. Why involve the resources of the federal government in handling internal problems Simon has with its executive employees?

The IBJ's Cory Schouten has posted a story explaining his view on why the feds' public corruption case against Carl Brizzi fell apart. He's much too generous to the federal prosecutors, who in my view, acted in a way that ensured the case would fall apart. Nobody wanted to back Carl into a corner. Desperate men can't be controlled.

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