If there is one word that marks the federal criminal justice system of today, it is “cooperation.” Regardless of whether it involves an individual or a corporation, cooperation with the Department of Justice produces incredible benefits.

You need only look at former WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan receiving five years as part of a plea agreement, and compare it to the sentence given to Bernie Ebbers, who risked a trial and incurred a sentence five times greater. Or Jamie Olis, a former midlevel employee at Dynegy, who, after trial, initially received a sentence of 24 years. Even when the 5th Circuit modified the sentence, the six years post-trial was a far cry from the month received by his co-worker, who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the government. The contrast is even greater to the situation of his boss, who allowed the illegal activities to occur but received only an 18-month sentence.

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