How Can I defend against Paycheck Protection Program Fraud?


Here come the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and CARES Act Fraud cases.  In March of 2020, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill that also included a whole host of federal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CARES Act Stimulus Program

A key part of the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses.  An additional $300 billion was authorized in April 2020.  In order to qualify for a PPP loan, a business was required to submit a PPP loan application, which was signed by an authorized representative of the business.  The PPP loan application also required the business to acknowledge the program rules and take certain affirmative certifications in order to be eligible to obtain the PPP loan.

Paycheck Protection Program Fraud

In the PPP loan application, the business was required to provide information about its monthly payroll expenses and the number of employees.  These figures were used to calculate the amount of money the small business could receive under the Paycheck Protection Program.  In addition, businesses were required to provide documentation to substantiate payroll expenses.

The PPP loan proceeds could be used by the business to cover payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.  The PPP allowed the interest and principal on PPP loan to be entirely forgiven if the business spent the loan proceeds within a designated period of time after receiving the proceeds.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Along with the PPP, the Small Business Administration – with partner financial institutions – also provided Economic Injury Disaster Loans – low-interest financing to small businesses, renters, and homeowners in declared disaster areas – based on the gross revenue and cost of goods sold by the business in the 12 months preceding the disaster.  In the case of EIDLs for COVID-19 relief, the 12-month period was that preceding January 31, 2020.

Financial Organizations

In order to administer the programs quickly, the SBA ultimately approved the particular loans, but used various designated banks and financial institutions to collect loan applications, process the applications, and submit the applications to the SBA for review.

Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud

As is true any time any institution – public or private – disburses money, fraud is involved.  In this case, more than $600 billion was authorized and disbursed within roughly 90 days, an incredibly quick period in which the Government was eager to help support the economy amid a world-wide cataclysmic pandemic.

We can now expect the Government to begin prosecuting instances of fraud.  In general, these prosecutions will fall hardest on individual and small-group fraud.  In the 2000s, when the housing market collapsed, even though billionaires oversaw companies engaged in massive amounts of fraud, not a single one was prosecuted by the federal government.

Instead, prosecutions generally uncovered instances of small bore criminality, which of course should not have happened, but which were comparatively minor given the massive fraud that had been committed at the heart of the economy.

If you are being investigated or prosecuted for PPP, CARES Act, or EIDL fraud, the Government will likely pursue Wire Fraud (up to 30 years) and Bank Fraud (up to 30 years) cases in federal court.

 

Arrests in Twitter Hack

Florida law enforcement has arrested a seventeen-year-old in Florida who they say is the “linchpin” of a hack that resulted in multiple hacked Twitter accounts in July. President Obama, Elon Musk, who himself has been subject to federal investigations for SEC violations, and Joe Biden are among those whose accounts were briefly taken over.

The hackers posted instructions for people to donate Bitcoin, but virtually no one did so and very little money – a paltry $180,000 – was actually stolen. Nonetheless, Twitter and various “blue check” celebrities on it were embarrassed, and so, rather than arrest all the people who have been insider-trading on Donald Trump’s corrupt efforts to fund a cure to the Coronavirus, the FBI felt it was very important to pursue some young computer nerds.

Clark has been charged by Florida prosecutors. Apparently federal charges have been filed against a British teenager and 22-year-old from Orlando.

In a sane world, the FBI would focus scarce resources on pursuing the actual criminals who orchestrated and profited off the destruction of the American economy in 2008, or are doing so again. But in this world, FBI Special Agent John Bennett says things like:

While investigations into cyber breaches can sometimes take years, our investigators were able to bring these hackers into custody in a matter of weeks. Cyber criminals will not find sanctuary behind their keyboards.

Antifa as a Group Sets Up RICO prosecution

Today in his testimony before Congress, Attorney General Bill Barr confirmed through his non-denial denial what we all know: That the Trump administration plans to use the 1970s-era Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to prosecute Antifa.

The Trump Administration has been claiming for years now that Antifa, the loose, largely unconnected-but-similarly-minded people who appear on the streets as part of large protest actions is actually a formal or informal group.

Partly Trump and his Department of Homeland Security have spread the myth of Antifa-as-an-Organization to rally the right-wing base in preparation for the 2018 and now 2020 elections.

But the more sinister aim – whether Trump himself knows this – is to create the legal groundwork to use various criminal and anti-terrorism laws to prosecute people, even those who do even regard themselves as Antifa, for federal crimes. Hence the email released earlier this week in which DHS officials rename alleged “violent” actors as “Violent Antifa Anarchists Inspired (VAAI)” in official reports.

RICO – the 1970s-era act initially drafted to pursue the Italian mob – is the vehicle to do that.

Having just defended at trial in Charlotte a client in October in the largest RICO prosecution in U.S. history, I am intimately familiar with the intricacies of this law and how it makes defense at trial very difficult.

Even though the jury found my client not guilty of agreeing to any murders on behalf of the gang, the only trial victory of any one of the 82 original defendants, the trial itself involved the Government backing up a dump truck of evidence about the Nine-Trey Bloods gang that made my client look awful, even though he was not personally involved in nearly all of it.

That’s what the Government can do in a RICO case. Furthermore, the RICO conspiracy statute doesn’t require that the Government prove that the defendant was a member of Antifa. The Government need only prove that the person “conspired” or agreed with the criminal intent of the group while doing something, however small, in furtherance of that group. Recruiting people into Antifa, even if that were possible, could be construed as committing RICO conspiracy, even if the person did not regard himself or herself as a member of Antifa.

Furthermore, the RICO crime and caselaw convert all statements made as part of the conspiracy into a non-hearsay. So these statements come in even if those statements would otherwise be regarded as hearsay, or subject to the Confrontation Clause. A literal dump truck of evidence can be backed up to a federal courthouse to make a defense of these cases very difficult.

The Perils of RICO

Following decades of battling organized crime – principally, in the American imagination, the Italian mob – Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970.

American law enforcement had been frustrated for years. The law generally punished the discrete criminal acts – robbery or extortion (Hobbs Act), bookmaking or gambling, prostitution (the Mann Act), and kidnapping, as well has largely state prohibitions against murder, acts of violence and so forth.

But in the mob in particular and organized crime in general, those acts are generally carried out by lower level members who are easily replaceable. Furthermore, investigations into higher level criminal acts were often hindered because the actual actors – the kidnapper or murderer – often refused to talk to authorities about the involvement of leaders in the criminal acts.

And so, while under conspiracy law a leader could be prosecuted for ordering a hit, in practice the basic theory of conspiracy left the leadership and surrounding criminal structure in place.

Indeed, the accountants, lawyers, and bureaucrats who kept the mob running were often entirely unaffected by prosecutions because they had no direct or even indirect involvement in the actual criminal acts.

Law enforcement prosecuted the criminal actors without ever really affecting the structure of the mob; soon after new people would fill the ranks of the criminal organization and the group would barely miss a beat.

RICO Fills a Gap

RICO was designed fix that problem by making it a criminal act to be a part of or associate with the organization engaged in certain kinds of criminal activity. There are four components of the RICO statute. And here we focus on the criminal law, not the civil component:

There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise “through” the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)).

Nearly all RICO prosecutions are carried out using 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) which requires merely that the Government proves that the defendant conspired (a fancy way of saying “agreed”) to do (a), (b), or (c).

(1962(c) is sometimes used, but only to the extent that the Government seeks certain enhancements that may not be possible with a “conspiracy” conviction.)

Taken to its logical extreme, RICO permits the Government convict someone of up to 20 years in prison if they can prove that the person merely agreed to associate or join an organization which engaged in a pattern of racketeering. A pattern of racketeering is defined as at least two acts of the type alleged by the government in its indictment and identified by statute.

RICO: An Example

For instance, the Government alleges that Joe agreed to associate with the Fluffy Dog Society, an organization that the Government alleges that on January 5, 2018 and August 5, 2019 committed two criminal acts. Let’s say that on January 5, 2018, the Fluffy Dog Society filed for bankruptcy and committed the criminal act of bankruptcy fraud. Let’s say on August 5, 2019, the Fluffy Dog Society committed the criminal act of copyright infringement.

A Jury would be instructed to find Joe guilty of RICO conspiracy if they believed that Joe agreed to participate in the conduct of the affairs of the Fluffy Dog Society and agreed that at least two predicate acts of the type alleged in the indictment were committed by any member or associate of the Fluffy Dog Society.

In other words, while the Government generally would put on evidence regarding the January 5, 2018 and August 5, 2019 acts, the Government wouldn’t have to prove that Joe knew or agreed with those specific acts. The Government would only have to prove that Joe knew or agreed that other members of the Fluffy Dog Society committed at least two acts of those sort.

In a large organization, the predicate acts become merely examples of the sorts of things bad actors within the organization could commit, and so Joe, if he agreed, would be criminally liable for RICO conspiracy.

RICO: But Shouldn’t “Agreement” Be Enough?

At this point, a Government prosecutor might say, Joe shouldn’t have “agreed” to be a part of a criminal enterprise if he didn’t want to be held responsible. Plus, you’re being unfair by calling it the “Fluffy Dog Society” because the Government wouldn’t ever prosecute the Fluffy Dog Society, or a Church, or a knitting club, or a biker club.

First, let’s talk about what “agreed” means in the real world.

At the conclusion of a trial, the jury would be “instructed” by the Judge regarding the law. Those instructions tell jurors that the Government is not required to prove a formal agreement. Indeed, as we all know from our daily lives, people agree to do things all the time without signing agreements, or even saying the words “I agree.”

So in the real world, a person’s participation in the Fluffy Dog Society’s legitimate activities – rescuing and saving dogs – can be used as powerful evidence that the person was a member and agreed with the purpose of the group.

Furthermore, in a real criminal case, the bad actors within the Fluffy Dog Society would have been approached early in the prosecution. Because cases against them are strongest, they are the most likely to be found guilty by a jury. Knowing this, they and their attorneys often plead guilty and, in doing so, agree to cooperate with the Government by testifying against others in the Fluffy Dog Society who may be headed to trial.

Cooperation is the key to getting a lower sentence in the federal system. So other defendants – cooperators – have very powerful reasons to testify.

Indeed, even if they aren’t lying on the stand, their recollections of conversations or communications are likely to be colored by the fact that they themselves were acting criminally.

Since the Government is not required to produce a written agreement or even verbal statement of agreement by the defendant, and since the Government will often have cooperators who will implicate the Defendant, and since agreement is often “proved” by a person’s actions (like remaining in the Fluffy Dog Society even after perhaps its activities became more suspect), agreement is a very low bar for the Government to jump.

RICO and Other Factors

Other criminal rules and structures, coupled with the RICO law, make winning a RICO case very difficult.

  1. Federal Rules of Evidence – The Rule against Hearsay – 801 – generally bars a party from soliciting testimony about an out-of-court statement. Judges can interpret this rule very narrowly, to prevent a lawyer from even asking whether the witness said something they said before. A jury, therefore, will often not hear about statements that the witness said, even contradictory statements made under oath at a prior hearing. An exception to this rule is that the Government can offer prior statements made by the defendant or any of his supposed co-conspirators that were made in furtherance of the conspiracy. In a RICO conspiracy involving a large organization, the Government can back the proverbial dump truck to the courthouse and unload statement after statement from thousands of people with whom the defendant may never have actually talked or met.
  2. Government Resources – Whether it’s a simple bank robbery, or a Hobbs Act (extortion/robbery) case, the Government has tremendous resources to investigate and prosecute cases. In addition, the Government has an army of prosecutors (both local in the federal district and in Washington, DC). The Government has a group of organized crime prosecutors in Washington who do nothing but travel around the country to support and prosecute RICO cases. In addition, a RICO investigation may be carried on for years with the use of confidential informants such that once it comes to the indictment, the Government has millions of pages of documents and has a team of dozens of agents who are intimately familiar with the case and with the potential witnesses. Against all of this, if the defendant is lucky and wealthy, he has hired a team of defense lawyers and an investigator or two. But in almost all cases, the defendant normally has a single lawyer and an investigator who has none of the arrest powers of a federal agent.
  3. Cooperation – The Federal Sentencing Guidelines establish the possible punishments available if a person is found guilty. Cooperation with the Government, often expressed as a 5K1.1 motion filed by Government prosecutors with the Court, is one of the few reasons a federal judge can go below the guidelines to sentence a defendant more leniently. While the guidelines have been “advisory” since the early 2000s, federal judges are creatures of habit and most still follow the guidelines. Consequently, a defendant who pleads guilty early receives a benefit for having accepted responsibility (which can mean months or years off a sentence) and a defendant who cooperates with the Government can enjoy even greater rewards, but generally only if they make the Government happy. Against this, the defendant obviously has no way to reward a witness who may testify truthfully but in the defendant’s favor. Indeed, a witness who might want to testify might be scared to anger a federal prosecutor, even if that prosecutor has never given them any reason to fear the Government. It’s natural for a witness not to want to testify against his government.

Conclusion

Obviously there’s a great deal more to be said about RICO. But these are some of the inherent dangers of RICO in general, and RICO conspiracy, in particular.

As a first step, Congress should eliminate 1962(d) and require that the Government actual involvement, not just conspiracy, to establish a RICO crime.

Joe Biden: The New Jim Crow

Joe Biden may be the worst Democrat to run for political office in the past half-century. Uncle Joe likes to preen about his working-class roots and personal frugality (a hardscrabble Scranton upbringing, a Senator who took Amtrak back-and-forth to Delaware), but, since the very beginning of his time in the U.S. Senate, has been a tool and a representative of the moneyed, establishment interests in this country.

That’s why Barack Obama picked him his as vice president: not because Joe Biden was some principled Democratic politician, but because Obama believed Joe would reassure whites that Obama was a good guy.

Here’s how Biden described Obama in 2007: “I mean, you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a story-book, man.”

When Biden hasn’t been looking out for financial and credit card companies – see, for instance Bankruptcy Reform Act, 2005 – he’s been a white racialist and tough-on-crime Democrat.

Biden opposed busing in the 1970s to desegregate public schools. He pushed for tough-on-crime bills of the 1980s and 1990s that have led to mass incarceration. He favored slashing Social Security. He undermined Anita Hill when she testified against Clarence Thomas. He has favored every major war since the 1970s.

1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act

The 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, sponsored by segregationist senator Strom Thurmond and co-sponsored by Joe Biden, among others, was the first major update of federal criminal law and procedure since 1900. It included, among other things, the Armed Career Criminal Act, which punishes convicted felons who possess firearms and have certain predicate convictions with at least 15 years and up to life in prison.

The 1984 Act also introduced the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which, along with the mandatory minimums in the 1984 act, have converted federal criminal law into a plea practice, rather than a trial practice.

1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act

The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, passed in the wake of the death of University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, was also co-sponsored by Joe Biden.

The law imposed a minimum sentence of 5 years for possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine while it imposed the same for possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine. This 100:1 disparity was reduced to 18:1 a quarter century later, when crack was increased to 28 grams (1 ounce) by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.

1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act

The 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, once again sponsored by Joe Biden, made technical corrections to the 1986 Act, and imposed even tougher mandatory minimums, including a 5-year-mandatory minimum for crack cocaine possession.

1994 Violent Crime Control Act

The 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, again sponsored by Biden, simply continued the trend of tough-on-crime legislation, including a provision that eliminated federal and state inmates access to Pell grants for higher education instruction, and inclusion of various criminal penalties under the rubric of the Violence Against Women Act, and the creation of a federal sex offender registry and indefinite confinement for certain convicted sex offenders.

Federal Sentencing Reform: First Steps Act

Donald Trump announced his support for federal sentencing reform earlier this week. What reform and whether he really supports the reform are open questions.

Earlier this year the House passed a bill that included only prison reform: laws that govern the treatment of and credit awarded to inmates once they are sentenced by the court. The most notable of those reforms a 10 day reduction in a prison sentence for every 30 days the prisoner participates in evidence-based crime-reduction programs. Such a reduction would be granted in addition to the 54 days that a inmate can receive each year for good behavior.

While that reform is positive, it’s limited in effect in part because funding has limited the number of slots available for participation in such programs.

The Senate, however, is considering a more ambitious sentencing reform bill – called “First Steps” – that would include prison reforms and sentencing reforms.

While the sentencing reforms are modest, they are still important.

First, the Senate version of the bill would eliminate 924(c) stacking. A 924(c) is the crime of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence. Under the current law, the first conviction is a mandatory 5 years consecutive to all other counts; the second and all subsequent convictions are each 25 years consecutive to all other counts.

In the not uncommon case in which a defendant possesses a firearm at three drug sales, even if the firearm is never displayed, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 55 years consecutive to all other counts.

The Senate version of the bill would eliminate the mandatory stacking of the offenses, and allow a judge to run the sentences concurrent to other sentences. While 924(c) would still be incredibly punitive, they would not exact the terrible toll they take today.

Second, the Senate version of the bill would reform the use of 21 U.S.C. 851 enhancements. An 851 allows the Government to effectively double or impose mandatory life sentences if a drug offender has a prior felony drug conviction in either state or federal court. For repeat drug offenders, the effect can be a life sentence if found guilty.

The Senate reform would require the offender to have been convicted not just of a prior felony drug offense, but of a serious drug felony. (It adds offenders who have previously been convicted of serious violent felonies to the list of people eligible for the 851 enhancement.)

In addition, the Senate reform would reduce the punishments imposed upon the filing of an 851 notice. In certain cases, a single prior serious drug felony conviction would result in a 15 year minimum, not the current 20 year minimum. And two prior serious drug felony convictions would reduce the sentence from Life to a 25 year mandatory minimum.

Third, the Senate bill would make the crack-powder disparity correction passed in 2010 retroactive, allowing prisoners convicted prior to 2010 to take advantage of the law.

Fourth, the Senate bill change the way the Bureau of Prisons calculates good time credit to ensure prisoners receive 54 days each year for good behavior.

Government’s Motion to Detain Mariia Butina

Last week the Government has charged Mariia Butina with two counts of violating 18 USC 951 which makes it a crime to act as a foreign agent of a government without first registering with the United States Government. Each count is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, although in reality the punishment would be driven by the United States Guidelines and would be much lower.

Nonetheless, even though the actual prison sentence would likely be very low, the Government has moved to detain her pending trial, arguing that she is a flight risk.

Given that she is a Russian national, the risk of flight is real. That said, detention ought to always be weighed against the potential punishment which I cannot imagine would be very harsh.

Imagine for a moment what Americans would say if an American was arrested in Russia who happened to have contact with American and Russian officials, and who spoke at, for instance, Drugaya Rossiya (Garry Kasparov’s old coalition) meetings – assuming they could scrounge together more than 50 people – and was subsequently jailed.

Americans are constantly meddling in other countries’ affairs.

Here we have a woman probably was working with Russian officials, and making connections with various American officials and also private individuals and organizations, such as the NRA. That’s behavior that should be exposed.

But criminal? I don’t think so.

Supreme Court Cases from the 2017-2018 Term

With the election of Donald Trump, liberals have worried that Supreme the Court would swing against personal liberties and toward a tough-on-crime approach. But the 2017-2018 term proves that sometimes ideologically conservative justices can come out in favor of defendant rights. Indeed, Antonin Scalia, one of the court’s most conservative justices, singlehandedly recovered the Confrontation Clause in Crawford v. Washington, Davis v. Washington, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts and Bullcoming v. New Mexico.

In Carpenter v. United States, the Court held that individuals have a privacy interest in the cell phone location data, and that a search warrant supported by probable cause is required before law enforcement can examine these records. The Court noted that in exigent circumstances – e.g., an ongoing kidnapping – the police can lawfully access GPS location data.

The decision is a important, although narrow, advance. Historically, the Court had declared that if a person voluntarily subscribed to a service in which billing, location, or other information was collected by a service provider, the person had given up his privacy rights and the Government’s warrantless access to such information was permissible.

But the Court has clearly become concerned about the amount of information that third-parties possess regarding individuals, including information that exists in the cloud, location data, and usage data. Carpenter v. United States begins to limit what the Government can obtain without a warrant.

In Byrd v. United States, the Court was asked to consider whether a driver of a rental car who is not listed on the rental agreement can assert the Fourth Amendment against law enforcement officers searching the car. The Government contended that because Terrence Byrd was not listed on the rental agreement, he had no reasonable expectation of privacy because the car was being rented by him.

The Court held that Byrd had a reasonable expectation of privacy even though he was not listed on the rental agreement because, as against others, he was the lawful possessor of the vehicle.

In Class v. United States, the Supreme Court held that a guilty plea, by itself, doesn’t prevent a defendant from challenging the constitutionality of a statute. However, the Supreme Court did hold that an explicit appellate waiver can prevent a defendant from challenging the constitutionality of a law. In the Eastern District of North Carolina, the prosecution almost always requires an appeal waiver if the person wishes to plead guilty pursuant to a plea agreement. Therefore, if a defendant believes that the statute may be unconstitutional, a defendant would either need to take the case to trial (and lose) or plead guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement, and then file a notice of appeal.

In Sessions v. Dimaya, the Supreme Court held that definition of “violent felony” in the 18 U.S.C. §16(b), part of immigration law, is unconstitutionally vague. The decision in Sessions v. Dimaya was not unexpected given the 2015 in United States v. Johnson which struck down the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act.

For the People: Bad Acting, Dumb Law

What a terrible show. Also, completely incorrect in almost every aspect of federal criminal law.

The pilot episode:

There are almost never term-of-years pleas in federal court (as one prosecutor makes the WMD client for “15 years”.) The plea is almost always to a charge, with some recommendations to the court (which it can ignore) about how to sentence. While there are a lot of problems with receiving discovery in the criminal system, I have never had (and can’t imagine the DoJ would permit) a plea offer made which would be deemed rejected if I demanded at least initial discovery.

18 USC 2332(a)(3) is involuntary manslaughter. 18 USC 2332A(a)(3) is WMD.

I’ve never been at the SDNY USA offices, but I’d be surprised they look like they look in this show. In the USA offices I’ve been in, they are drab government offices.

FPD offices are often nicer than the ones in this show.

You would never find out midway through review of the discovery that the case involves a sting. You would know that at the beginning because when you held the detention hearing the agent would tell you.

Entrapment is EXTREMELY hard to show or even get a jury instruction on. Meaning, you probably wouldn’t even get to argue that to the jury unless you can show that the Government pushed an otherwise unwilling or innocent person into committing the offense. Your investigator would surely figure out that this ferry guy quit the last trip he made which happened to be your client’s trip. So you wouldn’t ask that question of the ferry operator. Also, you’d avoid asking the ultimate question which called for a rambling response from the witness about how he was upset about 9/11.

There are a LOT of trials in this television show. Trials are very rare – 5 percent of the time in the federal system – and the federal government has something like a 90 plus conviction rate in jury trials.

Manafort and Federal Bail

Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump’s campaign manager from the late fall to the summer, struck a deal yesterday with prosecutors that now lets him off house arrest. Under the terms of that deal, Manafort must post $11.65 million worth of assets in order to be let off house arrest.

Under the proposal the Government and defense also proposed removing the GPS ankle bracelet monitoring device Manafort has worn since he was released after his detention hearing in October.

Manafort will be restricted in travel.

Federal criminal lawyers will tell you that this deal is not common. But, of course, Manafort is not a common defendant. Commonly, a person is either held or released, possibly on electronic monitoring or on house arrest or into the custody of a third-party who is required to make sure the person comes to court.

The Bail Reform Act of 1984 disfavors monetary bonds in favor of other measures to ensure a person’s attendance at trial.

Is Manafort likely to run? The judge refused to remove his GPS device probably because the judge believed he might flee to Russia where he still has plenty of friends.

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