‘MISPRISION OF FELONY’: Could It Be Used In Autosurf Ponzi Cases? Feds Trot Out Old-Fashioned Law To Combat Ponzi Epidemic; Georgia Woman Gets Jail Time
It’s called “misprision of felony” under Section 4 of the U.S. Code, and here’s how it reads:
“Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
It has been used as a weapon in certain drug cases involving violence left unreported, and in cases against public employees who did not report crimes.
And today “misprision of felony” was used in Georgia against Saundra McKinney Pyles, who was accused of concealing a Ponzi scheme operated by her friend, Gary Sheldon Hutcheson. Hutcheson pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering.
In essence, Pyles was accused of choosing not to report Hutcheson, even though she knew he was operating an investment scheme and committing mail fraud.
Pyles was sentenced to 14 months in prison, and made equally responsible with Hutcheson to pay $1.6 million in restitution to victims. Hutcheson was sentenced to five years in prison.
Do autosurf promoters who turn a blind eye to fraud or choose to become a participant in a wink-nod Ponzi enterprise now have something new to worry about?
Watch the video on 13WMAZ-TV.