Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the new top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says it is “shocking” that in 15 insider trading cases in New York City's federal court, sentences imposed in 13 of them were lighter than those prescribed in the formerly mandatory federal sentencing guidelines. Speaking at a committee hearing yesterday on federal fraud cases, Grassley cited a recent analysis by Reuters of insider trading sentences. Nationwide, 42 percent of all federal sentences in these cases were below the guidelines. “Federal judges often seem not to understand the seriousness of these crimes,” Grassley said.
Now that the sentencing guidelines have been held to be merely advisory, Grassley said, “the disparity and unfairness in judicially imposed sentences that we sought to eliminate on a bipartisan basis are returning, especially in two areas: child pornography and fraud.” He added that, “If potential fraudsters view the lenient sentences now being handed down as merely a cost of doing business, efforts to combat criminal fraud could be undermined.”