Loss Amount

In previous discussions, I have discussed the United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.). Here, I will briefly address the guidelines as they apply to calculating loss for financial crimes under U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1.

It is critical to know that the federal sentencing guidelines calculate loss amount to include not only actual loss amount but intended loss amount. An example will help …

A Defendant obtains 20 forged checks drawn on the accounts of “Victims”. Each forged check is for $10,000. The Defendant passes all 20 checks at different banks. On ten occasions, Defendant is successful resulting in acquiring $100,000 via fraud. On ten occasions, the bank declines to cash the checks resulting in $100,000 in unsuccessful attempts.

Using this example, the actual loss is $100,000, the intended loss amount is $200,000. For sentencing guidelines purposes, $200,000 is the loss amount.

There are ways to mitigate this loss amount, particularly where it brings an unjust result.

For further reading you may consider:

United States Sentencing Guideline §2B1.1.

“What Does Federal Economic Crime Really Look Like? published by the United States Sentencing Commission in January 2019.


Written By: Attorney John Lovell