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Plea bargain reached in South Carolina real estate scam

Crimes such as wire fraud come with serious consequences. Sometimes, however, an experienced criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea agreement that may result in lower fines and less jail time for a defendant convicted of a crime.

The man behind one of South Carolina's largest real estate scams has entered a plea agreement with the court. The scam involved the theft of money from investors who believed they were purchasing newly constructed condominium units. However, the condominiums were never built, and the defendant walked away with nearly $2.2 million of stolen funds. It took the Federal Bureau of Investigation several years to track the man down.

The man plead guilty to one count of felony wire fraud and has agreed to attempt to recover the stolen money. In exchange, the court dropped a second felony charge, although that second charge could still be consindered relevant during sentencing. In addition, the man may not face the maximum of 20 years of prison time a wire fraud charge could impose, but instead may only be sentenced to 33 to 41 months in jail.

Sometimes defendants are able to enter a plea negotiation that would lower the penalties they incur as a result of the criminal charges against them. Plea bargaining is particularly sought after by both defendants and courts as a way to defer the financial costs and time spent associated with a full criminal trial. Typically, a defendant will plead guilty to a lesser charge, in exchange for having further charges dropped or in exchange for a lower sentence. However, should a defendant or a prosecutor fail to honor the plea bargain, the parties may have to turn to the courts to enforce the agreement.

Plea negotiations can be of great service not only do defendants, but to overburdened courts as well. Through a plea bargain, justice can be served in a way that is beneficial to all involved.

Source: myrtlebeachonline.com, "Duwayne Woods pleads guilty in North Myrtle Beach condominium scam," David Wren, March 20, 2013

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