A prominent Northern Virginia businessman pleaded guilty to eight counts of securities fraud and received a 78-month prison sentence after paying millions in restitution. The Washington Post reported that the 54-year-old’s plea deal required $20 million in restitution to lessen his 6.5-year sentence. While you might view this punishment as unusual for an eight-count felony conviction, it is possible to request leniency through a plea bargain under certain circumstances.

The prosecution accused the soccer-player-turned-businessman of running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 40 investors out of their money. His scheme allegedly involved securing millions of dollars from friends and other investors with promises of attractive returns on real-estate development projects. The funds he received, however, reportedly funded extravagant vacations, private jet travel and sporting event tickets. Some of the money obtained allegedly served as charity donations so that he could promote himself as a successful and philanthropic real-estate developer.

To meet the deal’s restitution requirements, the businessman forfeited his home while his family also paid back some of his victims. The judge sentenced him to serve the six-and-a-half year incarceration sentence with three years of supervised probation to follow his release from prison. The plea bargain was determined by negotiations between his defense attorney, federal prosecutors, the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission.

If faced with a serious felony fraud charge, your acceptance of a plea bargain and restitution agreement might help in reducing a long-term prison sentence. Depending on the amount of money obtained through fraudulent means, a felony conviction may result in 20 years of imprisonment for each count.

This information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.