Miscarriage of justice: lying thieving CEO gets 7 days in prison, grocery clerk gets hammered

If you need further illustration of what is fueling  the #occupy movement, compare and contrast two local court cases.

The first is a white-collar swindler, Michael Peppel, who robbed 271 investors of huge sums of money, caused at least 1,300 people to lose their jobs, made his suppliers eat his debts, and then sat in his luxury home on house arrest for years while his lawyers were paid with stolen money- to keep him out of jail- only to be sentenced by a judge for life- to 7 days in prison:

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith, who concluded in August that a prison sentence of eight to 10 years would be appropriate under advisory federal sentencing guidelines, said she was moved by 113 letters of support she received from friends and family of Peppel. He was allowed to remain free until the Federal Bureau of Prisons directs him to report to a prison.

Peppel pleaded guilty to charges that he participated in a conspiracy to intentionally report false revenues and earnings at MCSi, to cover up losses and prop up the company’s stock prices.

Beckwith noted that five children, an ailing mother and brother depend on Peppel for support. The judge acknowledged that the sentence she imposed was a “huge” departure from the sentencing guidelines but said she does not believe Peppel is likely to repeat his white-collar crimes and that he does not present a threat to the public. There was no evidence that he had looted the company, the judge noted.

via Former CEO gets 7 days in prison, $5 million fine.

Also note, the MCSi was the recipient of locally funded corporate welfare- in that the Montgomery County Port Authority built them a new HQ at 4751 Hempstead Station Drive in Kettering and got caught holding the bag until Mead decided to bail from Downtown in the former Mead Tower to fill the empty building paid for by your tax dollars.

Compare this to a local grocery clerk who stole food stamps and sold a few handguns:

A Dayton grocery store employee who was implicated following investigations into alleged food stamp trafficking and other illegal activities at several local businesses has pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges.

Mohammed Qaqa, who worked at Food City, 1829 Germantown St., pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to charges of dealing in firearms without a license; unauthorized acquisition, possession and use of federal food stamp access devices; and wire fraud.

Qaqa originally faced 11 counts of dealing in firearms illegally, seven counts of misuse of food stamp cards and two counts of wire fraud, but the other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Still, he could face as many as 40 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, but few people are sentenced to the maximum penalties, authorities said.

As part of his plea agreement, Qaqa admitted that on April 30, 2010, he sold a 9 mm handgun for $275 while he worked at Food City. The handgun was reported stolen in 2008.

Qaqa also admitted that on June 11 he illegally purchased an electronic food stamp card for $270 that contained $543.39 worth of food benefits, which he used to purchase various items. He admitted that on June 11 he also used a wire communication device to try to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food stamp program.

While working at Food City, Qaqa illegally sold 11 firearms and caused the loss of $2,779 by illegally trafficking in food stamp cards, according to the plea agreement. Qaqa bought seven cards for half the value of the benefits they contained.

via Grocery worker pleads guilty to federal charges.

Although we don’t know Mr Qaqa’s final sentencing- I’m sure it’s more than 7 days. One also has to wonder where does Mr. Peppel get $5 million- from an offshore bank account where he stashed the money he stole?

Justice in the United States no longer wears a blindfold, just a green accountant’s visor, checking off your balance sheet to see if you can afford the “get out of jail free” card- while the poor continue to “go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”

Judge Sandra Beckwith should be disbarred and thrown in prison immediately. Note, she was appointed by GW Bush, as if you would have guessed otherwise.

There is no excuse for her soft touch sentencing on this CEO- Criminal Extra Ordinary.

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18 Responses

  1. Dan October 25, 2011 / 10:45 am
    “Beckwith noted that five children, an ailing mother and brother depend on Peppel for support.”
    Pretty sure the stolen millions should cover them. Of course after the judge’s share… who knows how much is left.
  2. Dave Poliquin October 25, 2011 / 10:48 am
    $5,000,000 is one of the cheaper “get out of jail free cards” that I have seen.
  3. truddick October 25, 2011 / 12:16 pm
    Beckwith noted that part of the sentencing decision was based on the unlikelihood that he’ll be able to repeat his crime.

    That seems to be to be a valid standard; we shouldn’t want to bear the high cost of imprisonment if they’re highly unlikely to repeat the crime.  In those cases, a big painful fine (one that divests the perp of any gains from criminal activity) ought to do.

    Now, I haven’t looked at the record, but I’m willing to wager big money that Beckwith has not applied that same standrard in all her decisions. 

  4. Dan October 25, 2011 / 1:42 pm
    “Beckwith noted that part of the sentencing decision was based on the unlikelihood that he’ll be able to repeat his crime.”
    Does that really excuse his crime though? Sure, I mean he does have enough money now not to NEED to repeat his crime. Repeat offenders of theft usually repeat the offense because they actually NEED the money, goods or food. Mr. Peppel merely did so because he thought he could… and get away with it. And you know what, he was right. By your logic it makes sense to imprison a thief of $100 for 5 years because he will eventually NEED to steal again, but not the thief of $100 mill because, well he’s set now. Really this is just further proof of how skewed our justice system is toward the haves but not the have-nots.
    Judging by the home Peppel is now living in it would seem that fine you speak of didn’t do the job.
  5. bobby October 25, 2011 / 4:25 pm
    ” $5,000,000. is one of the “cheaper get out of jail free cards’ that I have seen.”

       Did you forget about Denise Rich’s $450,000. donation to the Clinton Library that secured the pardon of her husband, billionaire Marc Rich, by President Clinton?   

  6. Occupy October 26, 2011 / 12:15 pm
    Too big to fail, Citi, agreed to pay $200M to settle over a $1B fraud and no one admits any wrong doing. Where is the occupy outrage?

    At least this fraudster faced a Judge and this fraudster’s name is known. Who was the fraudster Citi? MCSI was never too big to fail.

  7. bobby October 26, 2011 / 1:34 pm
    Occupy, Visit the SEC website. The setlemnt is $285 million. There is an individual, Brian H. Stoker, who was employed by Citi that faces civil monetary penalties for his role in structuring and marketing the one billion dollar CDO. The SEC is asking Stoker be banned from this this activity and that he returns monetary gain he received from this transaction. 
     Stoker’s base salary in 2007, the year thO CDO was sold, was $150,000. He was also guaranteed a bonus of $2.25 million from Citi. 
  8. Ice Bandit October 26, 2011 / 8:57 pm
    Judge Sandra Beckwith should be disbarred and thrown in prison immediately. (David Esrati)

    …temper. temper, dear David. Even Uncle Joe Stalin served up a highly publicized and bombastic show trial for those he was pissed off with, with his hammer Andrey Vyshinski accusing the unfortunate of everything from high treason to parasitism. This country has a two century tradition of jurisprudence, dear David. But with your permission, we can henceforth dispense with it. And mob rule, as you know, can be a capricous, imprecise and brutal method of justice. But to borrow a phrase from Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, “A riot is an ugly thing, but I think its time we had one.” But be advised, dear David, that with jail overcrowding, we’d have to release a crackhead, murderer or worse, a promiscuous schoolteacher to have a cell to throw the Judge in. Perhaps we could do what old Mao did during the Cultural Revolution; make her wear a dunce cap at Third and Main and compel her to criticize herself and her decision to the angry egg-throwing masses assembled. Or maybe we could just let her sit on the bench without too much second guessing…

  9. David Esrati October 26, 2011 / 9:22 pm

    Here’s a guy that didn’t steal enough to buy his way out:

    An area man who bilked more than $100,000 from three regional conservation organizations and then fled the state was sentenced Wednesday to more than two years in prison.

    Ernest David Collins, 56, formerly of Lebanon, pleaded guilty in Warren County Common Pleas Court to one count of aggravated theft, a third-degree felony, and four counts of forgery, all fifth-degree felonies.

    Judge James Flannery accepted the guilty pleas and sentenced him to 18 months in prison on the aggravated theft charge and nine months on each of the forgery charges. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. Flannery also ordered Collins to pay restitution of $161,238.56, according to Assistant Prosecutor Gary Loxley.

    via Man who bilked more than $100,000 from conservation groups sentenced.

    Can we again say justice is swayed by money.

  10. bobby October 26, 2011 / 11:35 pm
        In comparison, in 2010, President Obama’s auto czar Steven Ratner, agreed to pay $6.2 million and accept a two year ban from associating from broker-dealers or investment advisors to resolve an SEC probe of kickbacks without admitting or denying any wrongdoing. 
  11. Dan October 27, 2011 / 9:36 am
    “Or maybe we could just let her sit on the bench without too much second guessing…”
    Spoken like someone truly blind to the fact that justice in this country (in many cases) isn’t blind. Open your eyes Bandit, it’s not very hard to see at all. Maybe you’d see differently if it was you who’d lost thousands of dollars or your job due to this criminal.
    Also I think you took a purposely overzealous statement a we bit too seriously while addressing none of his points. Good job!
  12. David Lauri October 30, 2011 / 9:15 am
    Posted last night (11:24 p.m.) to daytondailynews.com is an article, “Victims of MCSi criticize sentence given to ex-chief executive,” that includes this fun quote from “Ric Simmons, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office in New York City who is now an Ohio State University law professor:”

    The justice system also has a goal of attempting to rehabilitate criminals for return to society, so defense lawyers have an interest in creating the impression that defendants are already rehabilitating and can continue doing so, Simmons said. A judge can take into account whether a defendant is being punished in other ways, such as loss of livelihood, and any good acts that he has done, Simmons said.

    Still, Peppel’s seven-day prison sentence could give the impression that white-collar crime won’t be firmly punished, Simmons said.

    “I can see how people could perceive a double standard, in that these kinds of deviations are unusual,” Simmons said. “If I were the prosecutor, I’d be shocked.”

  13. Ice Bandit October 31, 2011 / 12:57 am
    …I think you took a purposely overzealous statement a we bit too seriously while addressing none of his points. (Dan)
    …good and valid points, Dan.  And thanks for the critique. However if overzealous statements were nickels David Esrati would be driving a Porsche, sipping umbrella drinks at the yacht club and sporting a Kardashian as arm candy. So the words “David Esrati statement” and “taken too seriously” should never appear in the same sentence. Consider the case of Motley Crew front-man Vince Neal. Driving while pissy and puking drunk, Neal killed his passenger and rendered two victims of wrong-place-wrong-time brain damaged. Though the sentencing judge could have sentenced Neal to oblivion, the court decided that a Vince Neal making millions was more beneficial to the victims than Vince Neal making license plates. Let the victims of Peppel’s wrong doing liquidate his estate, and make Peppel get a job delivering Domino’s until the victims are made whole. Home plate umpires aren’t the only folks to practice discretion Dan, and David’s comparing Peppel to the the gun-dealin’, food stamp stealin” Mohammed Qaqa, without info of Qaqa’s background, is disingenuous. And complaining about an alleged injustice while advocating jailing the judge registers an 11 on the 12 point silly scale. Are those and adequate number of points addressed?…
  14. David Esrati May 13, 2013 / 10:09 am

    And Peppel gets a rare second chance at sentencing.

    For the second time in less than two years, Michael Peppel will be sentenced for the same crimes.

    The former chief executive of the defunct Kettering computer and electronics firm MC-Si, Peppel was originally sentenced in October 2011 to seven days in jail for his role in misleading investors and taking part in a stock price manipulation scheme.

    In February this year, a federal appeals court overturned that sentence, saying it was too short. According to the case docket last week, Peppel is scheduled to face U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith for resentencing at 9 a.m. The case could be continued until Wednesday, according to the docket.

    The resentencing is the latest chapter in a saga that began in the early 2000s.

    Peppel, a former Washington Twp. resident, pleaded guilty in 2010 to money laundering, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and willful false certification of a financial report by a corporate officer. Prosecutors said he led a scheme to inflate MC-Si’s financial results in order to prop up its stock price, even as the company lost money.

    In 2011, at the first sentencing, Beckwith said she was impressed with the outpouring of support Peppel had from friends and family. She noted 113 letters sent to her on Pep-pel’s behalf.

    Peppel’s sentence also included three years of supervised release, random drug testing, 30 hours of community service during each of those years, and a $5 million fine — as well as an agreement to never again work as a CEO or CFO and to disclose his conviction to all prospective employers.

    Ira Stanley Jr., MCSi’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to similar charges, and was sentenced to a day in prison, a $12,500 fine and three years of supervised release.

    Those who had worked for Peppel and say they lost jobs or savings due to his actions were shocked at the brevity of the jail sentence.

    Earlier this year, Vandalia resident John Ellis, 59, urged former MCSi workers to launch their own letter-writing campaign to Beckwith. Ellis said he was “infuriated by the court’s acceptance of Peppel’s $3,000-per-month payment plan for his $5 million fine.”

    “I would hope that Judge Beckwith would give Mike Peppel a sentence in accordance with her original sentencing memo and the federal guidelines for his multiple felonies,” said Ellis, who worked for MC-Si from June 1999 until October 2002.

    via Ex-CEO could get stronger sentence.

    Anything less than 10 years is a travesty.

  15. Muddy December 7, 2013 / 1:58 am
    You don’t get it, moron.  His actions didn’t cause the company to go out of business.  He tried to keep the company alive by hiding the poor sales performance of a lot of lazy employees.  What he did was wrong; but, he didn’t cause the downfall of the company.
  16. Gene December 7, 2013 / 2:04 pm
    That is great. Self proclaimed “very high IQ” to being called a moron within a few comments. I love this blog. A bunch of zeros commenting on things they have very little insight on, all while making slightly over minimum wage.
    My favorite comment is when Dave W.  told this guy he did not want “his kind” at the market. No catering to divorced teachers who make bracelets on the side for 96 dollars a week and think its a business was the better business strategy. Nothing like pissing off a guy who make 400k a year now. What insight those geniuses had. Muddy welcome aboard. Strap in and listen to the tattooed underclass and marketing wizards that esrati attracts.
    No one wants to get their hands dirty in Dayton. They are all idea guys like the Boston clan.
  17. Diane December 7, 2013 / 6:26 pm
    I do think calling our host a moron is a little harsh.

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