U.S. judges are well known for handing out very long sentences to criminals, particularly those who commit fraud.
It has been known for criminals to be jailed for 900 years due to the tough stance on crime.
Fraud is something that’s taken very seriously indeed.
Those involved in business who rip off their shareholders and cause the collapse of their companies to enrich themselves can expect long sentences.
One example is the infamous case of Bernie Madoff.
Madoff was jailed for 150 years for his Ponzi-scheme which defrauded billions and made the authorities look very silly indeed.
But that sentence is dwarfed by that given to Sholam Weiss, who carried out a complex fraud in the 1990s.
He was working for the National Heritage Life Insurance company and hatched a scheme with several employees.
They conspired to fake the accounts so it looked like the company was making money, when it fact it was not.
Weiss and his cronies created fake reinsurance contracts and then used those contracts to hide the company’s losses.
They also made loans to fake companies and used those loans to make it look like the company was doing well.
The scheme eventually fell apart, and National Heritage Life Insurance was forced into bankruptcy.
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Fleeing the US and 845 years in jail
Weiss was eventually convicted on more than 80 counts of fraud, money laundering, and other charges.
He fled to Austria before the trial but was eventually extradited to the United States to face charges.
In 2000, he was sentenced to 845 years in prison, which is one of the longest sentences ever handed down in a white-collar crime case in the United States.
The sentence was reduced to a mere 835 years after an appeal.
The exact amount he stole is not known, but he was ordered to pay restitution of $125 million.
He launched a number of appeals against the case, arguing the sentence is excessive and violates his constitutional rights.
However, his appeals all failed.
However, he was released from prison in 2021 – 824 years early – after President Trump commuted his sentence on his last day as President.