Federal Charges of Kidnapping, Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means and (3) Operating an Illegal Gambling Business: One Year and One Day
The FBI, working with a cooperative witness, conducted an undercover investigation into illegal gambling in Boston’s Asian community. The cooperating witness (CW) approached the FBI to report that he had been kidnapped, threatened, beaten and extorted to pay a gambling debt that exceeded $40,000.00. The man ran up this debt in a very short period of time by placing illegal sports bets with an Asian bookmaker and gambling ring. After failed attempts by the creditors collect the debt via verbal threats and demands, they snatched the man from his driveway, forced him into a car at knife point, and drove to a secluded location where he was beaten and tortured.
The kidnappers recorded their actions on video and uploaded it to the internet. After CW’s report, the FBI initiated its investigation to identify CW’s kidnappers and others involved in the Asian gambling underworld. During the operation, the CW made numerous recorded calls and other monitored communications with members of the illegal gambling ring. The CW also made multiple controlled payments to his gambling creditors in an effort to pay down his debt. The investigation culminated with the arrest of four Vietnamese men.
One of the men retained Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend him in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Attorney Calcagni was the second attorney on the case. He successfully negotiated a plea agreement with the government that did not call for mandatory jail for is client. He then aggressively prepared for sentencing by highlighting his client’s lack of criminal record, family support, pregnant girlfriend, educational background, work history, and that he presently maintained two jobs.
He also brought to the Court’s attention the man’s self-rehabilitate efforts of moving away from Boston after the kidnapping and before his arrest, severing ties with the more culpable defendants in this activity, self-surrendering to authorities upon learning of the indictment and warrant for his arrest, and other post-arrest conduct. At sentencing, U.S. Probation calculated the man’s advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range to be 87 – 108 months. The government pressed for jail, as Attorney Calcagni pushed for probation. The Court was so torn over the sentence to impose that the judge took a recess to deliberate. At one point, the Court asked the lawyers for a jail recommendation, in the event one was to be imposed.
The government emphasized that it sought a term of years in jail. Attorney Calcagni suggested one year and one day with the understanding that his client would receive good time credit, serve approximately four months in a low security prison camp, and then transition to a halfway house for the remainder of his term. Attorney Calcagni told the Court this suggested sentence would maximize the chance of his client’s release from incarceration in time to be present for the birth of his twins. The Court adopted Attorney Calcagni’s recommendation and sentenced the man accordingly.