Client sentenced to probation in federal court


A client who was indicted in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute contraband smokeless tobacco avoided a prison sentence and instead was placed on probation for 2 years. The sentencing guidelines for his case suggested that a custodial sentence was in order, but the judge agreed that probation was more appropriate. Attorney Goldenberg argued that the smokeless tobacco tax in Massachusetts was so much higher than in other states that a guidelines sentence, which is driven by the amount of unpaid tax, would be significantly higher here than it would be had he been convicted of distributing the same amount of tobacco in another state. The judge also considered that the criminal conduct ended 5 years ago when ATF agents executed search warrants of his house, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not indict the case until 5 years later. The client immediately stopped distributing contraband cigarettes once he was approached by law enforcement and has lived a law-abiding life.