Recently, an Orange County federal jury convicted Antonio Marquette on several counts that stemmed from a business he operated. Now Mr. Marquette faces several years in federal prison. Mr. Marquette would have benefited from expert guidance about the federal criminal justice system.
Mr. Marquette founded Bolsa Marketing Group in 2010. We neither know Mr. Marquette nor do we know what motivated him to launch his company, yet we can assume he started with good intentions. Like many people who have been convicted of white-collar crimes, he likely began with hopes of building a fee-based service to assist people. Then things went wrong. Many white collar defendants violated laws without realizing how their business decisions could lead to criminal prosecutions.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the US Attorney collaborated to bring charges of fraud and money laundering against Mr. Marquette.
For longer than 20-years, I’ve specialized in defending people against charges in federal court. When defendants have been charged with white-collar federal crimes, I take a holistic approach, investing considerable amounts of time to my clients grasp the ancillary consequences associated with every decision that follows a criminal prosecution. When a trial is warranted, I fight vigorously. Yet my outstanding working relationship with federal prosecutors and federal judges results in favorable plea deals for many of my clients. A good plea deal can allow my clients to move past the struggle and begin rebuilding a fulfilling life. Considering government statistics, defendants serve themselves well when they understand the challenges that follow criminal charges in federal court.
The Department of Justice publishes statistics that show what happens to most people who have been charged in federal court.
“Of the 82,092 defendants terminated during Fiscal Year 2013, 75,718, or 92 percent, either pled guilty or were found guilty…. The rate of conviction remained over 92 percent since Fiscal Year 2010.”
Defendants should understand those statistics before they make a decision on whether to proceed through trial. They should know about other options.
When prosecutors bring charges of fraud, they must prove that the defendant intentionally tried to deceive the victim. Specifically, the criminal code for fraud requires prosecutors to prove the defendant:
“knowingly and willingly falsifies, conceals or covers up by any trick, scheme or device a material fact, makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry.”
My clients understand that they should expect prosecutors to rely upon every type of evidence to build a case. That evidence could include email messages, phone calls, or any written record. They may also rely upon statements from victims. With regard to Mr. Marquette, we know that prosecutors proved fraud and money laundering charges to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. What we don’t know is whether Mr. Marquette fully understood the risks—or his other options—before he chose to proceed through trial.
Some charges for mail fraud and wire fraud warrant a trial, some do not.
If you’ve been charged with a federal crime and you want to discuss options, contact my office for a free consultation.