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APsplainin | Detroit-area men who sent millions to Yemen spared prison
One by one, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn declined to send them to prison, despite guidelines that call for a few years or more behind bars. He noted that Yemen's financial system is a mess and its residents desperately need help.
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"Only people without compassion" would object to the light sentences, the 95-year-old judge told The Associated Press. "As I've been here longer," Cohn said, "I've come to the realization that the rules are flexible -- at least to me."
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Since 2018, federal prosecutors in Detroit have charged nine people in an investigation of cash transfers to Yemen. Bank accounts were opened in the names of shell businesses, then used to deposit and wire roughly $90 million over a seven-year period, according to plea agreements filed in court.
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It's unfair to "shed the traditions and practices of your homeland," Cohn told Hazem Saleh, who possibly faced five years in custody for handling $22.6 million. Judges don't have to follow sentencing guidelines, and Cohn rejected prison terms. He placed Saleh and five others on supervised release, a form of probation. Three others await sentencing.

"Please look at me as you would look at your own son," Ahmed Al-Howshabi told the judge in July. "I can truthfully say I did not understand the laws and regulations of operating such a business."



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 05:55:53 AM EST
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