US: Detroit-area Yemeni expats avoid prison time for sending millions of dollars to native country - - PressFrom - US
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US Detroit-area Yemeni expats avoid prison time for sending millions of dollars to native country

05:55  21 october  2019
05:55  21 october  2019 Source:   foxnews.com

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Several Yemeni expats in the Detroit area who pleaded guilty to transferring millions of dollars to their war-torn U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn, seen in a photo last week, defended his decisions not to sentence Yemeni men to jail time for sending millions of dollars to their home country .

DETROIT — A group of Detroit - area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen , their war-torn native country . Defense lawyers have praised the judge for educating himself about the poorest country in the Arab world and understanding cultural traditions.

Several Yemeni expats in the Detroit area who pleaded guilty to transferring millions of dollars to their war-torn native country unlawfully will not be going to prison -- after the judge cited a need for "compassion," according to a report Sunday.

One by one, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn declined to send them to prison, even though the men had failed to register their activities as a money transfer business. Failing to do so usually carries up to five years behind bars.

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A group of Detroit - area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen , their war-torn native country . 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.

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit - area men who moved millions of dollars to Yemen have avoided prison , thanks to a 95-year-old judge who Prosecutors said they had no evidence the scheme was anything more than sending money to relatives and possibly avoiding taxes, but they believed sentences

Regarding his recent rulings, Cohn noted that Yemen's financial system has been in ruins and people inside the country needed help.

"Only people without compassion" would object to the light sentences, Cohn, 95, told The Associated Press. "As I've been here longer, I've come to the realization that the rules are flexible — at least to me."

The Detroit area has the highest concentration of Yemenis, a demographic that has risen amid a war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions more with inadequate food and health care.

a person walking down a city street© Provided by Fox News Network LLC The World Bank estimates that Yemenis received at least $3.3 billion in 2018 – a conservative figure by some estimates.

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    DETROIT (AP) — A group of Detroit - area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen , their war-torn native country . Prosecutors said they had no evidence the scheme was anything more than sending money to relatives and possibly avoiding taxes, but they believed

DETROIT (AP) — A group of Detroit - area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen , their war-torn native country . Prosecutors said they had no evidence the scheme was anything more than sending money to relatives and possibly avoiding taxes, but they believed

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.

All nine men have pleaded guilty to failing to register money transfer businesses or making false statements to agents.

Cohn, who has been a judge since 1979, has described the conditions in Yemen as "horrendous,” noting that sending men to prison could cause hardship in conservative Muslim families where wives often don't work outside the home.

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Prosecutors said they had no evidence the scheme was anything more than sending money to relatives and possibly avoiding taxes, but they believed sentences within the guidelines were appropriate.

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Judges don't have to follow sentencing guidelines, and Cohn rejected prison terms.

He placed six men on supervised release. Three others awaited sentencing.

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