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Jeffrey Southard arrested for being NJ’s version of Bernard Madoff December 18, 2008

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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Talk about timing huh?  Jeffrey Southard of Pittsgrove, New Jersey arrested today for allegedly operating a ponzi scheme to that  (allegedly again) stole over $1.6 million from 16 elderly investors.  He is charged with first-degree money laundering, second-degree misapplication of entrusted property, second-degree theft by deception, and second-degree securities fraud.  Those are some very, very heavy charges.   (See why I don’t blog about national news like Madoff?  We have enough going on here in New Jersey).

Although I am sure he has no prior record, it will be tough for his attorneys to come up with some good mitigating factors.  The state money laundering charge does not merge and the first degree charge carries 10 to 20 years in prison.  Thus, at a minimum, he is looking at 15 years in prison.  However, there are several aggravating factors that will apply at sentencing if he is convicted.  Besides the usual ones that apply in every case, the State will allege that he took advantage of a position of trust and that the crime involves elderly victims.  That would be at least 4 aggravating factors right from the start.  So, a sentence closer to 20 years would be possible if found guilty of all counts.

On the other side, it will be tough to get these victims into court.  But since there are so many of them, it is likely they could get some of them to trial.  As an attorney, you can’t beat up an 80 year old person on the stand either. 

With any of these cases, the big upper hand the defense always has is that victims are out money.  If this guy goes to prison for a long time, he would have spent a ton of money on his defense and the victims stand to get little to nothing.  A good resolution would allow the victims to be made whole in exchange for a (much) lesser sentence.  It seems like he has been under investigation for some time, so hopefully his attorneys have been working hard for him.  They have a lot of work ahead of them.

Click here for the story.

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