Rich people are attempting to buy their way out of jail (and it’s working)


It’s no surprise that rich people receive special treatment in the justice system because they are able to hire incredible lawyers (see: Bob Durst). But according to the New York Times, the latest trend for wealthy people accused of crimes is not even to go to jail when they are waiting for a trial — instead, they are paying unbelievable sums of bail to stay under house arrest.

Reza Zarrab, for instance, is a gold trader based in Turkey, who faces federal charges including conspiring to violate the United States sanctions on Iran. He is attempting to post a $50 million bond, $10 million of which would be in cash, and pay for his own security team to watch him while he sits in a Manhattan rental and wears a GPS tracking device.

The government is not a fan of this request, which must be approved by a judge, but he is not the first super rich individual to try. The Chinese billionaire, Ng Lap Seng, paid a $50 million bond so that he could stay in a midtown apartment and Marc Dreier, head of a Manhattan-based Ponzi scheme, was allowed to stay in his East side apartment. 

“Zarrab’s proposed bail conditions,” the government told the judge making this decision, “are an attempt to use his tremendous wealth to obscure the flight risk through a facade of security that is beyond the reach of all but a small subset of fabulously wealthy defendants.” Yup, sounds about right.