I have two friends who have been convicted of conspiracy to commit securities fraud for stealing about million by selling underfunded securities. One of them, we’ll call him Steve Hallingham, had no prior criminal record, which the judge said was a "big plus" when he gave him a fairly light sentence of 18 months. But the other guy, call him, Theotis Watson, has a prior criminal conviction for stealing a spool of fishing line (monofilament, 20lb test, low-reflective) from the drug store when he was 17, and the prosecution is trying to make a big deal of this. Theo has a good story–he stole the fishing line so he could go fishing and bring home some dinner. Even at the time of his conviction the judge almost believed it, but in Florida, juveniles are charged as adults for any fishing-related crimes. But the prosecution in the securities case is trying to point out that if Theo’s motives were truly altrustic, why did he steal the 20lb not 12, and he purposely took the low reflective.
Anyway, Theo wants to argue that at the time when it happened, in the 70s, monofilament line was very cheap, even the 20lb/low reflective, and that it wasn’t until the 80s whenthe two major fishing line makers merged–possibly in violation of the antitrust laws–and were able to dominate the market–78% of all domestice fishing line is now made by a single maker–and drive up prices. In essence Theo wants to argue that 20lb test/low reflect might seem like a big deal now but it wren’t no thing in the 70s.
Anyway as a side strategy, Theo wants to get the fishing line conviction expunged on the basis of his clean record for many many years (until he stole the mil) and the fact that he has becme an accountant and is unlkely to commit similar crimes in the future as accountants do not require fishing line in their daily duties.