Citation. 22 Ill. 416 F. Supp. 496 (S.D.N.Y. 1976)
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Brief Fact Summary.
Bergman (D) is a Jewish rabbi who offered his talents and services to many philanthropic organizations and charities. He owned and invested in nursing homes that he used as a front to file fraudulent Medicaid funds.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Even high character wrongdoers must be punished in order to set an example of general deterrence.
Bergman had an unimpeachable high character until 1974 when nursing home investigations went underway. Bergman owned and managed a few nursing homes and the investigation exposed his fraudulent claims for Medicaid funds. It also exposed false filings of partnership returns and failing to list people who had purchased partnership interesting from him in his nursing homes. He was charged with conspiracy to mislead and defraud the Federal Government. The court charged him with four months of imprisonment as deterrence.
Whether four months imprisonment for a well educated, high character, high profile defendant is fitting for the crime of fraud he committed.
Yes it is. Sentenced to a term of four months in prison.
The purpose of the prison term was the court’s goal of general deterrence (to discourage others from committing similar crimes). It is to show that the law is real and to be abided by all, including high character defendants such as Bergman.
The second purpose of the punishment is to fit the crime. Sentencing the defendant for any less than 4 months would lessen the seriousness of the crime.
This case explains the need for punishment and the justifications for punishing. The court’s main points of this case is to show that punishment for crimes are needed not to just punish the criminal, but also to deter others from committing similar crimes.