I’ve been in middle of a cross-country move, and with Thanksgiving dinner being prepared, I’ve slowed down. Being busy, the headlines of the 26 people being arrested did not escape my attention. Of course it did not; it’s probably the biggest news in the deaf community since the Gallaudet protests of 2006. It certainly ranks one of the biggest news in the deaf community of the last couple decades.
Amongst some of the discussions were how long the defendants could be jailed for. I myself speculated that they could be jailed for 5-10 years. In another discussion some days later, a friend said that someone told her they could be jailed for up to 20 years. Clearly, the length of sentences is a subject of interest.
Since I’ve had more time on my hands, I took the time to read the FCC press release. Of utmost interest was found near the ending:
All of the indictments seek criminal forfeiture from each of the charged defendants.
I immediately looked up the definition for “criminal forfeiture”. It means the government, if found guilty, would be seizing property that was acquired as part of the crime. Property could include houses, cars, computers and televisions – any big ticket items that recovers the money defrauded from the FCC. These items will more likely appear on government auctions.
How much each defendant are found to have defrauded will determine how much property is seized. For some, it may mean all and every property. It’ll be interesting to see how the government calculates this amount. How does the DOJ accurately estimate how many fraudulent minutes each defendant were responsible for?
Since the FCC press release did not elaborate more on what would be sought, I’m left to speculate that the charged defendants will not face any prison sentences.
TYPO: Thanks, Eddie, for correcting me. It’s defrauding, not frauding.