Paul Manafort defrauded the IRS by $6million, but got the same sentence as someone who stole $100

Jack Webb@JackWebb92
Friday 08 March 2019 11:00
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Picture:(AFP)

The American justice system is a fickle beast. White-collar crimes such as money laundering and fraud seem to be severely under punished.

Paul Manafort, former chairman of President Trump's campaign has finally been sentenced thanks to the efforts of Robert Mueller's investigation.

However, while his sentencing has been long anticipated, it's being discussed for an entirely different reason: how shockingly short his prison sentence is at a mere 47 months. In non-baby age terms, that's a rather lenient four years.

What are his crimes you ask? Only defrauding the IRS by about $6 million dollars.

Manafort is a rich, white male with good connections and this, according to many, highlights the systemic inequality in the criminal justice system; working one way for the wealthy and way harsher for someone who might be facing lesser crimes.

MSNBC's chief legal correspondent tweeted in response to the sentencing:

Manafort was initially facing up to 24 years in prison for his tax evasion and bank fraud.

But while judge T.S. Ellis readily admitted his crimes were "very serious", he felt that the punishment, which would've seen the 69-year-old behind bars well into his 90s, was a bit "excessive."

Ultimately, a lot of people in America have done a lot less and been sentenced to a lot longer than is justified, especially compared to Paul Manafort.

As you might expect, the sentencing galvanised lawyers to expose the gross inequality as they reflected on their own cases of defendants who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for selling marijuana, for example.

To put this more into perspective, Scott Hechinger, a public defender, tweeted this about one of his clients who stole $100:

And then this about the mere possession of a firearm:

And another instance where a women was sentenced to five years for voter fraud:

As you might expect, the trend goes on and on.

We've conducted our own research on the matter and the results, when viewed through the Manafort-sentencing lens, are truly horrifying.

Fate Vincent Winslow is a young man serving life in prison for selling $20 worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer in Louisianna, who was selling the drugs for the $5 commission to buy food.

Crystal Mason, who we mentioned earlier, was sentenced to five years in prison for voting while on probation last year. Mason had only recently been released from prison for a 2012 tax fraud conviction in which she pleaded guilty.

Patricia Spottedcrow was sentenced to a staggering 12 years in prison for the sale of a $31 bag of marijuana to an undercover informant. This was her first criminal offence. A widespread backlash to her sentencing created an uprising which led to a decrease in her sentence and to her early release on parole.

More: Paul Manafort owns a $15,000 ostrich skin jacket and people think it's hideous

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