Ten years after the behavior of over-leveraged and fraudulent banks created a global financial disaster that resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses; a multi-trillion bailout using public money; and millions of people losing their homes to foreclosure, but saw not one high-level financial executive go to jail, a man in Florida has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes from a local convenience store.
According to the Associated Press, “Robert Spellman, 48, received the lengthy sentence after a jury in Pensacola convicted him of burglary and grand theft last month.” As the Pensacola News Journal reports:
He went into the Circle K in the 200 block of West Cervantes Street and took 10 cartons of cigarettes from a locked manager’s office in the stock room.
He was found nearby, matched a description of the suspect, was wearing the same clothing and had the cigarettes, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Spellman had 14 felony and 31 misdemeanor convictions prior to this charge, so his 20-year sentence qualifies him as a habitual felony offender.
While the average carton contains 200 cigarettes, that means Spellman will now serve approximately 3.65 days in prison for each of the 2,000 cigarettes he allegedly stole.
Asked in 2016 about why no high-level bankers went to jail after the 2008 crash, former Attorney General Eric Holder lamented that reality by claiming the DOJ just coudn’t make the cases stick, though said he wished it had been possible:
Writing about the tenth anniversary of the 2008 crash last month in Rolling Stone, journalist Matt Taibbi noted that while “everyone in the upper echelon of the finance community got Paid In Full in the bailout, even the exact people who screwed up the worst,” those whose suffered most of the “miserable story turned out to be poor, nonwhite, and elderly.”
Though it’s likely that most poor, nonwhite, and elderly Americans didn’t need to be told that.