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Welcome to my blog. For those of you who do not know, I, Michael Szafranski, was recently released from the Federal Prison Camp in Miami, Florida where I spent 11 months. It took six years from the time that I knew I was under investigation to the day I reported to prison. In many ways those six years were worse than the 11 months I actually sat. This blog is going to deal with many of the issues facing people like myself who are just trying to navigate the legal system when they find out they are in trouble and are thrown into the crazy world that is our criminal justice system. My case was kind of high profile so I dealt with it all. I am sharing what I learned so that others will be a little more prepared as to how to deal with various situations and to hopefully shed a little bit of light on what really goes on in the system. Please email me with any questions and if you would like to utilize my consulting services. Appreciate any comments and critiques! Follow along as I publish my book at https://www.wattpad.com/user/whitecollarguru. Email me at mike@whitecollarguru.com with any questions.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Will Jeff Epstein Walk Free


Jeff Epstein is a low life who should spend the rest of his life in prison. To be totally honest Jeff Epstein should have to have his testicles cut off with a chainsaw without the benefit of any anesthesia while all of his victims take part in the mutilation. But should Jeff Epstein be in jail now? Legally, that is.
I first learned of Jeff Epstein in 2009. As luck would have it, multiple settlements in my case were purportedly settled by Epstein. He was supposedly settling lawsuits against him by underage girls who had been his victims prior to his going to prison. Brad Edwards, who never went to prison claimed that he represented these plaintiffs. We even looked at case files. The fact that Brad Edwards was never indicted remains a mystery to this day. I have my own theory on that which I am electing to keep to myself. For now, that is.
What is noteworthy is that Jeff Epstein’s lawyers (one of who is a partner with one of my lawyers) managed to get him one of the best deals in history. It is a deal that highlights one of the many inequities in our criminal justice system. There is no one who could credibly argue that 99.9% of the population would not have received a prison term for over 20 years to be served in a less than friendly federal prison. Epstein, however served less than two years in a state prison and was eligible for work release every day! Jeff Epstein, one of the most despicable criminals and victimizers in modern history served less time than I did. Let that sink in for a moment.
How did that happen? Well the US Attorney at the time, Alex Acosta, cut Epstein a deal where he would plead guilty to a State of Florida charge. In exchange, Epstein and his co-conspirators received a pass on the federal charges. Why did they cut him this deal? I have no idea. Any way you slice it, Epstein got away with a very lenient sentence and got to keep basically all of his wealth because of who he was, who he knew and the size of his bank account. Disgusting. Only the purchase of Manhattan for  $24 worth of trinkets in 1626 by Peter Minuit comes close the deal Epstein made.
Nine years later the Miami Herald woke up and decided to shine a light on Acosta, Epstein, and the case in general. A year after they published their expose, Epstein was arrested and charged in New York for what is seems are the very crimes he pleaded guilty to in 2008. This should trouble anyone who has been found not guilty at trial or who has pleaded guilty, served time and now trying to rebuild his life. This is very scary.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that double jeopardy, which prevents a defendant from being charged for the same crime does not apply if there are overlapping governmental jurisdictions. In other words, someone can go to trial on the federal level, be found not guilty and then the State of Florida can decide to prosecute him for the very same crime if an overzealous prosecutor decides that a State law was violated as well. This is obviously an insane ruling, but it was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

As insane as that is, however, what is even more appalling is that it now seems that a defendant can be tried for the same crime on the federal level if the indictments are issued in different districts. Jeff Epstein cut a deal in Miami in 2008 and now it seems, on the surface at least that he is being charged with the same crime in New York 10 years later. Of course, it is possible that new crimes have been committed. Realistically, this indictment represents a do-over on a deal that the feds are not happy about.
Why should this bother the white-collar defendant? One of the most common catch all while collar charges is Wire Fraud or Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. The very definition of Wire Fraud is a transaction that crosses state lines. Many defendants accused of Wire Fraud will have alleged victims in multiple states. Someone sitting in New York may have victims who live in New Jersey, Florida or California. In all likelihood, he is going to be charged in New York. Under the new Epstein rule the case may not be over once he resolves his case in New York be it through a plea deal, an acquittal or even a guilty verdict. Imagine if the defendant in New York decided to plead guilty in order to put the case behind him. He served his time, gets released and is now ready to rebuild. Upon release, an overzealous prosecutor in Florida, where one of the alleged victims resides, now decides that he is unhappy with the deal that the New York federal prosecutors gave the defendant. They decide to now re-indict in Florida since there is a victim from that state who also made a monetary transfer based on the alleged fraud. This is very scary!
The fact that Epstein is accused of the most heinous of crimes elicits little sympathy from the public. At the same time, we cannot, and we should have different types of laws and due process for different types of crimes. The rules have to be the rules whether someone stands accused of murder or money laundering. Today the New York prosecutors are charging someone with a crime in what amounts to a do over, irrespective of the nature of the crime. Do not fool yourselves. If it turns out that there is nothing new in the Epstein indictments, while-collar defendants are going to have to start bracing for the possibility of being indicted in multiple districts for the same crime. This cannot be allowed to happen!

I want to be clear. Jeffrey Epstein should not be a free man. He is a low life. In this country if a cop does not have a search warrant, goes into a house and finds a dead body, that evidence is disallowed, and a murderer walks free. We may not like it, but these laws are in place to protect the innocent, even if it means a guilty person goes free. I believe Epstein deserves to go to jail. I believe he should be placed in the worst prison in the country. I hope his cell mates do to him what he did to those poor girls. And I hope it hurts. Badly.  I just hope that the reason he goes is not because of crimes that were supposed to have been covered by a deal, even if it was a bad one. Oh, and Brad Edwards? He also belongs in jail too!

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