Embezzlement Prison Sentence Reduced to Probation

A federal court has decided that a woman sentenced to prison for embezzlement received far too harsh a sentence. The judge decided that the original sentence exceeded sentencing guidelines. As a result, the original term of six years and ten months in prison has been reduced to five years of probation and restitution in the amount of $143,313.

Jacqueline Sue Cole, 41, pled guilty to embezzling $165,000 from a chiropractor in 2004. The Michigan state court judge that sentenced her in December 2004 exceeded sentence guidelines that called for probation and county jail time. The reason was that while Cole awaited sentencing, it was reported that she had committed two more embezzlements. She denied the accusation, but her attorney at the time did not take up the court’s offer to have a hearing on the matter.

After a series of appeals were denied in state courts, Cole was granted a hearing in federal court in Detroit in January.

Now, U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman has said in an Oct. 14 ruling that Cole’s attorney failed to properly represent her, and that she should not have received the prison sentence. The case was remanded to Lenawee County Circuit Court in Michigan for resentencing.

Cole had already served nearly six years of the sentence when she was released.

Cole had asked her original attorney to call a Blue Cross Blue Shield investigator to testify that Cole was working with the insurance company after reporting that her employer was filing fraudulent health insurance claims.

The insurance investigator was not called in the original trial, but at the federal hearing in January, he testified that Cole was telling the truth. Her information led to 87 fraud counts being filed against the doctor who accused Cole of embezzlement.

Judge Borman was incredulous that the insurance investigator was not called as a witness by Cole’s first attorney. Cole has been released on probation.

Source: lenconnect.com “Woman released after judge finds unjust embezzlement sentence” 11/4/2010