Joe Average should have nothing but praise for United States attorney Barbara McQuade in her quest to vigorously prosecute white collar criminals whose greedy and uncaring actions put honest hard working Americans in financial peril or compromise their health.
When white-collar crime suspects pose flight risk
Financial crimes have an enormous negative effect on our community. One of my top priorities as U.S. attorney has been to prosecute white-collar criminals as aggressively as we can.
As noted in the Nov. 28 Free Press article “Judges saying no bond to white-collar suspects,” in some circumstances, particularly health care fraud cases, our office has sought to detain some white-collar defendants pending trial. Quotations in the article gave the inaccurate impression that a defendant’s national origin or a desire to “punish” those charged with economic crimes were driving the government’s decision to seek detention in these cases. Nothing could be further from the truth.(individuals national origin can not legally catalyze legal proceedings as she emphatically declares )
As the article pointed out, there are more than 170 fugitives nationwide in health care fraud cases alone, including several who have fled this district, illustrating the flight risk posed by a number of white-collar offenders. The law specifically provides that detention may be sought when the defendant poses a danger to the community or a risk of flight.
The government seeks detention in white-collar cases when the risk of flight is so great that no conditions of pre-trial release could reasonably assure the suspect’s presence at court hearings. The decision to seek pre-trial detention is case-specific and supported by the law. It is not based on a defendant’s national origin.
For example, the article mentioned the pre-trial detention of Tausif Rahman, who was arrested on an indictment in September. An additional 13 individuals were charged in the same indictment. These additional defendants came from a variety of ethnic and national backgrounds, including Pakistan, like Rahman.
The government did not seek the detention of those other individuals because they did not present the same flight risk as Rahman. The same is true in many of the other cases cited in the article, where the government chose not to seek detention for defendants in those same indictments or cases with ethnic or national ties to other countries. Ethnicity and national origin are not and never have been a factor in the government’s decision to seek detention. Finally, pre-trial detention is not a pre-trial punishment, and it does not mean that a defendant has lost the presumption of innocence. Our goal in seeking detention is simply to ensure that the defendant appears for trial, so that the process may go forward and justice can be served.
Barbara L. McQuade United States attorney Eastern District of Michigan