April 15, 2005

News Release

U.S. Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
Washington, DC 20002-8002

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2005

Contact: Michael Courlander
Public Affairs Officer
(202) 502-4597

SENTENCING COMMISSION ADDRESSES CONGRESSIONAL CONCERNS
ON ANTITRUST AND IDENTITY THEFT OFFENSES

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 15, 2005) — At its public meeting April 13, 2005, the United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to adopt sentencing guideline amendments that will increase penalties for antitrust offenses. The Commission also voted unanimously to create a new guideline for aggravated identity theft. The Sentencing Commission promulgated the amendments after receiving written public comment and testimony at a public hearing from a variety of sources that included prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers.

The amendment to the antitrust guideline responds to the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108-237, which increased the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for Sherman Act violations from three years to ten years.

In response to the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act of July 15, 2004, the Commission has promulgated a new guideline for aggravated identity theft. The guideline is consistent with the new statutory provisions enacted by Congress that provide for consecutive mandatory minimum sentences of two and five years, depending on the underlying associated offense involving the misuse of stolen identification. The Commission also increased penalties for defendants who exceed or abuse the authority of their position in order to obtain unlawfully or misuse means of identification.

The new amendments to the sentencing guidelines will be submitted to Congress by May 1, 2005, and will take effect November 1, 2005, unless Congress disapproves them during a six-month review period.

The Commission also voted to ask Congress to give it authority to act expeditiously to amend the federal sentencing guidelines to address the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108-358. That Act directs the Commission to review the federal sentencing guidelines with respect to offenses involving anabolic steroids.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the judicial branch of the federal government, was organized in 1985 to develop a national sentencing policy for the federal courts. The resulting sentencing guidelines structure the courts’ sentencing discretion to help ensure that similar offenders who commit similar offenses receive similar sentences.