Let’s be honest. When a person, especially someone of a high rank, is accused of a white collar crime, the court of public opinion makes up their mind long before any real jury does. The media propagates the story ad nauseam and often the accused is convicted in the public’s mind before the trial even begins.
When news broke that a former Georgia college football coach was being implicated in an elaborate investment fraud scheme, many people in the country may have just assumed he was guilty. But cases like these are rarely as cut and dry as they may seem or as black and white as the media may portray them.
The former coach was accused of bilking others, including college coaches, out of substantial amounts of money in an investment fraud scheme. Authorities alleged that he promised individuals incredible returns on their investments that ended up not occurring. He was charged with 41 different counts, including money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy and mail fraud. Many of the coaches testified against him in the trial, but, in the end, the jury found him not guilty on all of the 41 charges.
Given the verdict, it appears that the jury sided with the former coach’s argument that he was a victim himself and that he was unaware that the man for whom he was helping procure investors for was engaging in a scam. The man the former coach helped procure investors for pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and may face up to five years behind bars.
An important point to note is that, no matter how guilty a person may appear, they deserve their chance at justice. If you’re facing an embezzlement or fraud charge in Louisiana, know that an attorney may be able to help you build a strong case aimed at achieving the most favorable outcome possible.
Source: espn.go.com, “Jim Donnan found not guilty,” May 16, 2014