USSG §2B1.1: Offense Level Calculation
USSG §2B1.1 is a part of the United States Sentencing Guidelines that delivers a protocol for sentencing in cases involving white-collar crimes.
It addresses offenses such as fraud and deceit, forgery, the use of counterfeiting and insider trading incident and takes into account several factors to determine appropriate sentencing, including financial loss, the number of victims impacted, and the level of sophistication involved in carrying out the fraudulent scheme. An additional factor that’s considered is whether the offender exploited a position of trust to facilitate the crime.
The USSG uses a points-based system to determine a defendant’s base offense level, which is then adjusted based on specific offense characteristics, including the dollar amount of the loss caused by the crime. The base offense level under §2B1.1 for fraud and theft is 7.
Loss Amounts and Enhancements
Under §2B1.1, the base offense level is increased according to the dollar value of the loss associated with the crime. Here are some notable loss levels and their corresponding enhancements:
- Loss greater than $50,000 but less than $100,000: Add 8 levels
- Loss greater than $100,000 but less than $200,000: Add 10 levels
- Loss greater than $200,000 but less than $400,000: Add 12 levels
- Loss greater than $400,000 but less than $1,000,000: Add 14 levels
- Loss greater than $1,000,000 but less than $2,500,000: Add 16 levels
- Loss greater than $2,500,000 but less than $7,000,000: Add 18 levels
- Loss greater than $7,000,000 but less than $20,000,000: Add 20 levels
- Loss greater than $20,000,000: Add 22 levels
It’s important to note that these loss figures represent intended loss, which means the loss that the defendant intended to inflict, regardless of the actual loss that resulted. If the intended loss can’t be determined, the court may instead use the actual loss.
In addition to loss amounts, other enhancements can apply under §2B1.1 based on the specifics of the crime. For example, if the offense involved 10 or more victims, 2 levels are added. If the offense involved sophisticated means, another 2 levels are added. If the defendant was found to have played an aggravating role in the offense, such as being an organizer or leader, additional levels can be added.
In sum, §2B1.1 of the USSG provides a structured system for determining the offense level for fraud and theft crimes. This level, in conjunction with the defendant’s criminal history category, helps courts establish an appropriate sentencing range. However, it’s important to remember that these guidelines are advisory, not mandatory, and judges have discretion in determining final sentences. It’s recommended to consult with a legal professional or the most recent version of the USSG for the most accurate and current information.