Despite pleas of leniency from his supporters and defense attorney, U.S. District Court Judge Callie Grenade sentenced 34-year-old Alexander Paul Fleming to 33 months in prison today for wire fraud. Late last year, Fleming pleaded guilty to bilking more than $715,000 from his former employer, G.C. Specialties Inc., over a six-year period.
As Lagniappe previously reported, after an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Fleming admitted that he registered several email accounts using aliases and established a private PayPal account to fraudulently invoice his own company out of more than $650,000 between April 2014 and February 2020. Investigators also discovered that more than $97,000 of the proceeds were traceable to improvements on Fleming’s residence in Theodore.
A spokesman for the company told Lagniappe that Fleming was employed since 2010 as a project manager, and due to a close personal relationship with the owners, had greater discretion and little oversight of his financial accounts. But the scheme “destroyed a very long, personal relationship that will never be restored.”
Although a conviction on a charge of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, Fleming’s attorneys sought a six-month sentence, coupled with three months of home confinement, citing the defendant’s history and characteristics, support from the community and his family, service and leadership and feeling of remorse.
In a request for the variance filed Feb. 10, defense attorney Kenyen Brown argued Fleming “has been struggling with mental health issues since high school and was misdiagnosed in college with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As a result he was more recently mistreated and misprescribed amphetamines, which only served to exacerbate his later correctly diagnosed bipolar disorder, greatly increasing his feelings of mania, impulsive/disinhibited behavior and poor judgment.”
The request included a March 13, 2020 letter from a Mobile psychiatrist stating Fleming was being treated “with the assumption that he has an underlying bipolar disorder,” even though his initial diagnosis was “a very nonspecific … mood disorder not otherwise classified.” The doctor allegedly diagnosed Fleming a couple weeks after he attempted suicide by overdose.
The request for the sentencing variance also included at least 17 personal letters of support for Fleming from friends and family, as well as examples of sentencing disparities that were significantly less than recommended guidelines.
“One thing made plainly clear by those who stand in support of Mr. Fleming in this time of need is the sentiment that the conduct that has led Mr. Fleming to this moment is not consistent with his character or track record,” the request stated. “Mr. Fleming can now state to the court that his actions were wrong, and he is truly remorseful for the harm done to victims in this case.”
On Feb. 17, Granade imposed a sentence of 33 months imprisonment, but will allow Fleming to self-report to custody. Afterward, Fleming will be subject to three years of probation. The sentence included special conduction for a mental health evaluation and treatment, a search condition and credit restrictions. Fleming’s financial information will also be subject to probation, according to the order.
In accordance with the conditions of Fleming’s plea, he has already paid $200,000 of the $715,528 in total restitution owed in the case.
Alex Fleming defense memo
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