Parish files appeal seeking 6 years
Convicted investment swindler Al Parish has filed his own appeal of his 24-year prison term, saying his time behind bars runs 18 years too long.
Citing statistical models comparing a decade's worth of white-collar fraud cases, Parish said his 24-year term is out of proportion and heavy-handed, and that a sentence of six years, two months is more applicable.
"If all 39,114 cases are ranked by amount of loss, Parish's case ranks 155th," his appeal documents state. "But if all cases are ranked by sentence imposed, Parish's case ranks 7th."
The sentencing model leaves "no doubt of disparity under any interpretation," his papers state.
The filings ask the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., to send Parish back to Charleston to be resentenced by Chief Judge David Norton to the smaller term, arguing that Parish's current sentence is "greater than necessary."
Norton earlier said he considered the 24-year sentence to be accurate in light of Parish's conduct, which included continuing to accept large sums from investors even after he knew his investment offerings were collapsing.
The one-sided documents were filed about two months after Parish's taxpayer-provided public defender said she saw no legitimate grounds for appeal, contending all his legal options already had been raised and disposed of by the district court. But she also informed Parish he could file his own appeal from the federal prison in Butner, N.C., where he's been housed since the summer.
It is not clear what legal help Parish, a mathematician by background, had in filing his appeal. In one part of his documents he requested an extension of the filing period, saying the prison's law library computer system had gone down and he could not do the research "to support the merits of the issues" he'd recently discovered.
Parish, a former economist at Charleston Southern University, was sentenced in June to spend 24 years in prison for an investment scheme in which nearly 600 investors were defrauded of $66 million put into his unregistered offering of collapsed investment pools. Much of the money went into such things as property, movie animation cells, art, jewelry and watches that are in the process of being sold off to partially repay his aggrieved investors, who could start receiving partial recovery payments later this year.
In his appeal, Parish said he was the victim of various other sentencing oversights as well, ranging from lack of consideration of his poor health to the cooperation he gave authorities after his arrest. Parish also argues his defense team failed to pursue postponing his sentencing until after all the case's recovered assets were liquidated. He hoped the loss would be below the $50 million threshold considered in federal sentencing guidelines.