A Lawyer, a 3 Million Dollar Charge and a 45 day Sentence; How can Non- Profit Work and Philanthropy Help me to Further Mitigate my Sentencing?

Engaging in non-profit work and philanthropy can demonstrate to the judge that you are making amends for your actions and contributing positively to society. This work can potentially be considered during the sentencing phase of your case for a white-collar crime. Here’s how it might be beneficial:
  1. Character Reference: Demonstrating that you have made significant contributions to society can serve as a character reference and help present you in a more positive light. The court might consider your charitable actions as evidence that you have “rehabilitative potential” and are committed to making amends.
  2. Mitigation: Your defense attorney can present your philanthropic work as a mitigating factor during the sentencing phase. While it won’t negate the crime, it can show that you’ve taken steps to redeem yourself.
  3. Community Ties: Non-profit work and philanthropy can also demonstrate your strong ties to the community, which may help in arguing for a reduced sentence or alternatives to incarceration, such as community service or probation.
  4. Restorative Justice: Your involvement in charitable work may be seen as a form of restorative justice, where you’re making efforts to repair the harm caused by your actions. This can be particularly relevant if your philanthropy directly addresses the issues related to your white-collar crime.
  5. Positive Media Coverage: If your case has received media attention, your non-profit work and philanthropy might help in presenting a more balanced view of your character to the public.
  6. Sentencing Memoranda: Defense attorneys often submit a sentencing memorandum before the sentencing hearing. This document can highlight the defendant’s positive contributions to society, including non-profit and philanthropic work. Testimonials and letters from beneficiaries or organizations can strengthen the memorandum.
  7. Sentencing Recommendations: In federal cases, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines allow judges to consider a defendant’s history and characteristics, including charitable activity, in determining an appropriate sentence.
  8.           Find the Right Charity or Non-Profit: Make sure that if you do donate your money to a charity or non-profit, it is a legitimate one. Just because it might have a qualified IRS letter doesn’t always mean that it is legitimate. And simply giving money to a non-profit by no means will sway a federal judge. You need to put your time and energy into whatever endeavor you decide is going to be helpful and something which you are passionate about.
It’s important to note, however, that while philanthropy and non-profit work can be beneficial, they are not a guaranteed way to reduce your sentence. The judge will consider various factors, including the severity of the crime, your criminal history, the impact of the crime on victims, and the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Additionally, genuine efforts at making amends are more likely to be viewed favorably than those that might be perceived as self-serving or insincere. Remember to consult with your defense attorney and your Federal White Collar Advisor before engaging in any charitable activities related to your case. They can advise you on the best strategy for your specific circumstances and ensure that your actions are presented effectively to the court during the sentencing phase. If you have any questions, please call, text or email me.

Sam Mangel




Member: American Bar Association