It has been reported that Archie Larue Evans has been indicted in the Florence Division of the District of South Carolina. Federal prosecutors have alleged that he stole approximately $2.5 million dollars from members of a Baptist Church. His arraignment is scheduled for August 15, 2012.
Prosecutors claim that he convinced members of the church to invest in his company and promised investment payments between 10% and 12%, however, the money was allegedly spent by Evans. He faces charges of mail fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.
If he decides to plead guilty or is found guilty by a jury, the amount of loss attributed to him will be crucial for his sentencing hearing. The United States Sentencing Guidelines state that a defendant is subjected to a higher sentence the higher the amount of loss. These guideline calculations are critical to every person indicted in federal court. They provide a basis to understand what possible penalties are involved with a particular crime. Knowing what a person is facing is critical to proper representation in federal court. When a person is convicted of a ponzi scheme, the amount of victims is also important, and could lead to increased penalties. Additionally, if the court finds that the defendant abused how position of trust or that the scheme involved vulnerable victims, his sentence could be increased by the district court. Lastly, if other individuals were involved in the scheme, he may receive an enhancement for his role in the offense if the district courts finds that he managed or directed others in the scheme.
Evans will need to hire an experienced Federal Criminal lawyer to handle his case, one that is familiar with the sentencing guidelines and the possible enhancements he could face at his sentencing if he decides to plead guilty to the charges.
If he goes to trial and looses or decides to appeal his sentence, he will need to hire a federal appellate lawyer in South Carolina. His possible appellate issues would include any enhancements he received at his sentencing proceeding. It will be important for his federal criminal defense attorney to preserve all issues at the trial level for any potential appeal. If the issues are not preserved, they are waived and can not be appealed by an appellate lawyer in South Carolina.