AUSTIN, TX, November 13, 2019 – Six former United States Attorneys General, one former FBI Director, two former United States Solicitors General, two former Texas Supreme Court Justices, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Due Process Institute and the ACLU are among those who joined amicus briefs supporting Baker Botts client, Daniela Gozes-Wagner. Daniela is appealing her 20-year prison sentence before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
In 2010, Daniela —a single mother of two—began working in a marketing capacity at a medical clinic to support herself and her family. Unbeknownst to her when she was hired, the clinic was at the center of a healthcare fraud conspiracy, orchestrated by Russian kingpins. The government admitted that these Russian kingpins were the ones orchestrating this conspiracy—and not Daniela. While Daniela was employed by these Russian kingpins, she made only the equivalent of an annual salary. The kingpins, in contrast, raked in millions of dollars.
The Russian kingpins pleaded guilty and received either 5- or 6-year prison sentences. But Daniela went to trial and received a much greater sentence: The government pressed for - and district court entered - a 20-year prison term for Daniela, while ordering her to pay $15.2 million in restitution.
Notably, Daniela’s sentence is significantly longer than those imposed in other much more highly sophisticated and lucrative frauds—including even Jeffrey Skilling’s sentence for the massive Enron accounting fraud.
Baker Botts, which entered the case as appellate counsel to Ms. Gozes-Wagner, is arguing that the district court imposed an unconstitutional and unlawful sentence. “Daniela’s unlawful sentence is patently unjust, and it should be vacated,” said Baker Botts partner Scott Keller, former Texas Solicitor General and lead counsel on the appeal.
For more information on this case or to interview Mr. Keller, please contact Sheena Cochran.
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