Articles Posted in Theft

Ippei Mizuhara, an interpreter for L.A. Dodger’s star Shohei Ohtani, was recently charged by federal authorities in California with one count of bank fraud related to his alleged theft of millions of dollars from Ohtani, which Mizuhara used to bankroll his prolific gambling habit. Though federal investigations often take a long time, the IRS was investigating the illegal gambling ring Mizuhara used to place his bets, so they had a substantial head start on their investigation.

News outlets often report the maximum penalties associated with criminal charges. But the reality is that the maximum penalties are seldom imposed. Instead, federal courts are required by law to calculate a range of imprisonment based on the sentencing guidelines. The federal sentencing guidelines are advisory – meaning the court need not impose a sentence within the guideline range – but they are the starting point for every federal sentence imposed. If a court decides to impose a sentence outside the guideline range, it must provide specific reasons for doing so. As a result, the guidelines provide a far more accurate estimate of the potential penalty that a federal defendant might face.

The guidelines work like a mathematical formula. The facts of the case determine whether certain guidelines apply, and any dispute about the application of the guidelines is resolved by the court at a sentencing hearing. These factors include the criminal history of the defendant, his role in the offense, and whether any aggravating circumstances exist.

The Maryland Assembly has recently passed the Justice Reinvestment Act which is generally aimed at significantly reduces Maryland’s prison population. Our partner, Judge Joe Murphy (ret.) played a key role in formulating much of this legislation. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 122-19 and the Senate 46-0. Gov. Hogan is expected to sign the bill into law this spring.

Many major policy changes are highlighted below in this text but include a unique opportunity for inmates serving mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses an unprecedented opportunity to return to court and ask for a sentence modification.

Some other highlights to the bill include:
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Theft is one of the most common crimes, if not the most common, charged in Maryland and tried by Maryland Criminal Attorneys. Excluding complicated fraud and white collar thefts, most of these cases are run of the mill in terms of the facts, the law and the outcome and rarely pose much of an intellectual challenge for the attorneys handling the case. I had a theft case this morning, however, in Baltimore City Circuit Court that had a rather unique issue that posed a bit of a challenge and made the case much more interesting that the average theft case. First the law.

There are only two elements to the crime of theft and they are both simple and logical. The elements are that property must be taken from another and that it must be taken with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. The issue in the case went to element number two, whether or not my client intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property in question. The specific issue involved, and was ultimately resolved upon, a somewhat arcane legal concept known as asportation. Essentially what it means is that there must be an attempt by a would be thief to carry the property away from the area where the property was originally taken in order to complete the crime of theft. In other words it is not sufficient for the State to prove that the alleged thief merely took possession of the property that did not belong to him without the permission of the owner; there is the additional requirement that the State prove that the alleged thief moved the property from its original location or at least made an attempt to do so. More on the law in a moment but first, here are the facts of the case:
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