Joel Steinger, the owner and behind-the-scenes CEO* of the defunct Billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, Mutual Benefits Corp., has, through his counsel of record, asked for a delay in his sentencing. His attorney, in a motion filed in US District Court, in a filing, has disclosed that Steinger's suggested sentence, as computed under the US Sentencing Guidelines, is life in prison. With the abolition of Parole in 1987, a life sentence is exactly that; no release is permitted prior to death in custody, as there is no provision for Gain Time for a life sentence.
Perhaps as a means to suggest an alternative sentence to the Court, the attorney has also stated that the statutory maximum sentence available is fifty (50) years, which also amounts to life in prison, as Mr. Steinger, due to his present age, would pass on before he was eligible for release. Either way, the outcome is the same. Is this a Draconian sentence, given the damage done to the victims, many of whom lost their life savings ? You be the judge.
One of the reasons that counsel wants a delay is to obtain information on Substantial Assistance that Mr. Steinger reportedly rendered to the US Attorney in Fort Lauderdale. Apparently, the primary source of this favorable information is working outside the United States, and not in communication with counsel. He is obviously looking to soften the blow at sentencing. The US Attorney has not filed a request for a Downward Departure, due to the rendering of Substantial Assistance, so whether this ploy will be effective is doubtful, but counsel has the obligation to zealously represent his client, even though he has been reviled by his many victims.
The June 6 sentencing data previously scheduled has come and gone, but without a ruling on a new date. Will will advise our readers as soon as any new information is publicly available.
* Peter Lombardi, who served as the official company head, as Steinger's criminal convictions, and regulatory rulings made him ineligible to serve, was sentenced to 20 years, but his sentence was later reduced to 80 months. He will be released next month, after having served less than seven years in Federal Prison.