What should the sentence be for a man who has stolen $800,000? You would think that it would be at least a few years in jail, but for former Liberal Party boss Ray Harding, there were no such consequences. In fact, the man got off completely scott free, supposedly because of his cooperation with the authorities and for the “family troubles” that caused him to make “a misguided grab for money.” Harding was accused of being involved in a pay-for-play scheme that involved the State of New York’s pension fund. He even admitted to being a fake intermediary between the the pension funds and the investment funds.
However, the real reason that Harding got such a light sentence is his poor health. Harding does not have a life-threatening illness like cancer or AIDS; instead, he is obese. And his obesity is a big factor in the very light sentence that he received after stealing $800,000. He will not spend even one day in jail, nor will he be required to pay back the money he stole.
So why is Harding getting off for being fat? Perhaps it is the possible health consequences that he will suffer while he is in jail. Obesity has numerous negative health side effects, including everything from lower back pain to strokes and heart disease. In fact, nearly 10 percent of all medical costs in the USA can be attributed to obesity caused illnesses.
So, I guess it makes sense that the government would not want to sentence someone who was going to cost them more money in medical bills than the average inmate for many years of jail time, but to let him off without any consequences? That seems a little wrong. Maybe the judge should have sentenced him to some sort of community service, and of course, he should have been forced to pay back the money he stole. However, I don’t think that the government should have to incur extra debts because Harding is obese, so I do support their decision to avoid this by not giving him jail time. Perhaps they should have consider a house arrest sentence? What do you think?
Via NY Daily News
May 23rd, 2011