On April 6, 2001, the U.S. Sentencing Commission approved a group of amendments to guidelines governing the sentencing of economic crimes. These measures, collectively known to as the “economic crime package,” are the culmination of some six years of deliberations by both the Conaboy and Murphy Sentencing Commissions working together with interested outside groups such as the defense bar, the Justice Department, probation officers, and the Criminal Law Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference, The package contains three basic components. First, the now-separate theft and fraud guidelines, Sections 2B1.1 and 2F1.1, will be consolidated into a single guideline. Second, the “loss table” in the consolidated guideline will be different from the current theft and fraud loss tables in three ways: (a) the number of “steps” on the table will be reduced from nineteen to fourteen by changing the current one-offense-level steps to two-offense-level steps; (b) the offense levels of some low-loss offenders will be lowered; and (c) the offense levels of some high-loss offenders will be raised. Third, the troublesome term “loss” will, at long last, be redefined. In addition, the Commission approved changes to the money laundering guidelines that tied offense levels for money laundering more closely to the offense levels of the underlying crime from which the illegal funds were derived. Although not conceived of as part of the economic crime package, the money laundering amendments are tremendously important to economic crime sentencing reform insofar as they reduced the incentive of prosecutors to trump the otherwise applicable fraud guidelines by adding a money laundering charge requiring a far higher sentence for the same fraudulent conduct.
Frank O. Bowman III, The 2001 Econ. Crime Package: A Legislative History, 13 Fed. Sent. R. 3 (2000)