Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1997


Roughly one-quarter of all convicted federal defendants are sentenced for some kind of economic crime.1 There is an emerging consensus that the provisions of the federal sentencing guidelines devoted to economic crime do not work very well, a consensus that has created a powerful momentum for significant change. This Issue of FSR is about whether the guidelines concerning economic offenses, principally §2B1.1 (Theft) and §2F1.1 (Fraud), should be materially altered, and if so, how. The debate that has been joined over this question is technically complex and philosophically challenging. There are disagreements over issues as particular as when collateral posted by a defendant in a fraudulent loan transaction should be valued, and as broad as whether actual harm inflicted by crime or the culpable mental state of the criminal should be the most important factor in assessing offense seriousness. Whatever the outcome, the Commission's deliberations in this area promise to be among the most substantive and stimulating in years.


Published as Frank O. Bowman III, Back to Basics: Helping the Comm'n Solve the "Loss" Mess With Old Familiar Tools, 10 Fed. Sent. R. 115 (1997). © 1997 by [the Regents of the University of California/Sponsoring Society or Association]. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by [the Regents of the University of California/on behalf of the Sponsoring Society] for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [JSTOR (] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,



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