U.S. sentencing panel adjusts penalties for economic crimes

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Sentencing Commission has voted to adopt changes to the guidelines that judges use in sentencing white-collar criminals.

The changes approved last Thursday affect sentences in fraud cases.

They're designed in part to ensure that minor participants in fraud schemes are given different sentences than the crimes' ringleaders. The changes are also intended to take into account an individual's intent, and to remove some of the weight given to economic losses in calculating a white-collar sentence.

The commission also voted separately to increase penalties for hydrocodone trafficking.

The guideline changes voted last Thursday would go into effect November 1 unless Congress raises objections before then.

The commission is an independent panel that develops sentencing policy.

Published: Mon, Apr 13, 2015