CO-DEFENDANTS SENTENCING DISPARITY
All of Weiss’ co-defendants are either dead or released from prison. According to the Bureau of Prisons website, Jan Star was released on January 1, 2005; Jan Schneiderman was released on February 23, 2011 and Keith Pound is designated as deceased as of July 7, 2003.
Patrick Smythe, Michael Blutrich and Lyle Pfeffer were the primary contributors to the insurance company’s financial ruin.
Smythe, Pfeffer and Blutrich – the original organizers of the scheme and the architects of all that occurred – pleaded guilty to racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud. Smythe also pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Despite their principal responsibility for the fraud, Smythe, who was convicted of 90 criminal counts, received a reduced sentence of 150 months for his cooperation.
Pfeffer and Blutrich, who were also convicted of 90 counts, as well as separate criminal charges unrelated to the National Heritage case (on mob related offences and sex offenses), received reduced sentences of 200 months in their combined plea agreements (See, NY Times article Aug 30,1998). By contrast, Mr. Weiss was convicted of 76 counts, was not an officer of National Heritage, and was not an original organizer of the crime, and was not sentenced for crimes other than those connected to National Heritage received 845 year sentence.
Patrick Smythe was released on August 21, 2009. Blutrich and Pfeffer have both been released, although the exact dates are not available because they have been shielded by the federal witness protection program due to their assistance in prosecuting persons in organized crime (unrelated to Weiss)
Weiss was presumably convicted an additional 825 year for not cooperating with the government.