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Joanne Schneider Withdraws Plea on Ohio Securities Fraud Charges

In 2009, Joanne Schneider pled guilty to thirteen counts of fraud and securities violations involving a $60 million investment scam, according to the Associated Press. The scam involved a failed real estate development in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights. Prosecutors claimed the scam was a typical Ponzi scheme, in which payoffs came from money put in by new investors rather than actual profits.

Recently, an Ohio state appeals court vacated Schneider's three-year prison sentence that was handed down last year by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Eileen A. Gallagher. The appellate judges ruled that the trial judge made an error in sentencing and that the minimum sentence for Schneider's crime was actually 10 years.

Once the sentence was vacated, Schneider had three options: appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court, choosing to be re-sentenced, or withdrawing her guilty plea and proceeding to trial. Last week, she filed paperwork to withdraw her plea, citing a belief that her attorney supplied inside information about her to County Prosecutor Bill Mason as her reason, according to a May 25 article in The Plain Dealer.

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