Chantal McCorkle was a British citizen. Couple with William, her husband who was America, she was convicted for her role in a financial fraud case. The couple sold kits attempting to show people how to get rich by purchasing property in government auctions and foreclosures. They advertised it a lot through infomercials. Some of the grounds for the conviction included that they owned luxury cars and jets, and these jets were actually rented for the purpose of the commercials solely, and their use of fake testimonials from customers, who were really just paid actors.
Her husband was represented by F. Lee Bailey, and she was represented by Mark Horwitz. They were each sentenced to over 24 years in federal prison under the state’s mandatory sentencing laws. After a couple of appeals, the sentences were reduced to 18 years.
The McCorkle case was a notable one that Bailey lost. Like his own personal legal problem with financial issues, this was another case involving financial matters that he lost.
They both received a very harsh sentence, but it was under mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that they received the sentences. If they had committed more serious and heinous crimes, they would have gotten lighter sentences. Part of the reason this case stands out in Bailey’s career is because the sentence was so harsh. They received over 24 years each. That was incredibly long for the kinds of crimes they committed.
The defendants were also very young. They were British nationals too. Some argued that they would have gotten lighter sentences if they had been American citizens. The case was very troubling for both the defendants because they had no past record of criminal history. They were completely clean and had no prior history before that incident happened.
They were convicted of fraud and laundering, and there were so many counts of it that they received a lot of years in federal prison. Each time she transferred more than $10,000 to a foreign bank account in the Cayman Islands, it was considered a form of money laundering. There were so many points stacked up, and the federal prosecutors were partially responsible for giving them the sentence, because they convicted them. The judge sentenced them, however. However, their hands were tired because they had to hand down the mandatory minimum sentence.
There are now currently petitions to free them from jail, and a lot of people consider their penalties too harsh to be fair. After all, they thought their business was legal at the time, and it was the first time they had ever had any run-ins with the law. These two were extremely unfortunate to get this extremely harsh and long sentence, and they were given the kind of sentence that a murderer or worse, might get. These poor folks were one of the worst cases on F. Lee Bailey’s record, and they stood out as one of the most prominent cases he ever had on his record throughout his whole decades long career.
F. Lee Bailey had tax problems that were stemming from the McCorkle case, and he took in over $2 million that he reasoned were for his legal fees. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was considering civil action for everything Bailey had for the money he owed. Federal prosecutors have said, though, that it would be extremely hard to get anything from Bailey, because most of it was locked in debt beyond its worth.
The McCorkle case was an interesting one, though, and they were being investigated for deceptive advertising and unfair business practices after several complaints. While they look particularly clean from one angle, they are particularly dirty from another viewpoint. It was revealed that William lied about his wealthy background, used friends and actors to appear in the commercial and make false testimonials in his infomercials, and he denied all the deals that his customers brought to him, and that he only rented the yacht and jet for a few hours to shoot the infomercial.
They were indicted on several counts of money laundering, telemarketing conspiracy, and fraud. The indictment said that he had defrauded people out of more than $28 million, and that he refused to give refunds, failed to provide money for deals that customers found, and mislead customers about his real net worth. F. Lee Bailey argued that the pledge for refunds was never to be taken seriously, and it was just puffing, and it was never intended to be taken at face value.
He was convicted of fraudulent or dishonest dealing and moral turpitude. He was found guilty, and he was sentenced to federal prison. He was scheduled to go there for 24 years.
A case like this is so sad because the penalties are mandatory, and they’re minimum too. That means there’s not getting off from them, and no reducing them. If you’re found guilty, then you have to go for the mandatory minimum amount of years. No one can get around it, and you have to just submit to the judge’s sentence and go on with it. Of course, you can appeal. There are always appeals. F. Lee Bailey took some flack for taking their fortune, a large chunk of it anyway, about $2 million, and living high on the hog off of it. He was already having tax problems with the federal government, and a lot of his property and assets were in debt. He was often accused of living on Billionaire’s Row, but just in the shadows.
William & Chantal McCorkle paid a high price for their work on their infomercials, and it was difficult for them to deal with the lifestyle change that accompanied their sentencing hearing. Chantal didn’t know how she was going to deal with living in prison for 24 years of life, and when she was getting out, she wouldn’t be young enough to have children anymore. There are serious consequences for fraudulent activity in this country, and even the best lawyer might not be able to get you off.