A Tale of 2 Sentences: Roy Brown vs Paul Allen

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The story of 54-year-old Roy Brown, a homeless man who couldn’t afford to pay basic food and shelter expenses, out of desperation; robbed a Louisiana bank taking approximately $100. After feeling remorseful, he surrendered to police the next day, was arrested and remained in jail until his trial. The judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

The day after this story appeared, prosecutors celebrated the fact that they were able to get a 40-month prison sentence for investment tycoon Paul R. Allen, who defrauded lenders of more than $3 billion.

The 40-month sentence for Paul R. Allen, 55, of Oakton, Va., is slightly less than the six-year term sought by federal prosecutors.

“I messed up. I messed up big,” Allen told U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema before he was sentenced, apologizing to his family and “the entire financial community. “There was no excuse for my behavior.”

Allen was chief executive at Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, which collapsed in 2009 after the criminal investigation became public, resulting in its 2,000 employees losing their jobs. The fraud also contributed to the collapse of Alabama-based Colonial Bank – the sixth largest bank failure in U.S. history – after Colonial bought hundreds of millions of dollars in Taylor Bean mortgages that had already been sold to other investors.

Roy Brown is black and homeless, while Paul R. Allen is white and extremely wealthy. The same dynamic played out in Mississippi, where Jamie and Gladys Scott were given double life sentences for their possible indirect involvement in an $11 robbery. Barbour has since begrudgingly allowed their conditional release, but did not pardon or commute their sentences outright–as he did for four men convicted of murdering their wives or girlfriends.

Racism and class bias are central to the way our criminal justice system operates–and the purpose of “tough on crime” rhetoric is still, more often than not, to “protect” men like Paul R. Allen from men like Roy Brown. It is less a matter of preventing crime than it is insulating lives that are valued, under the old formula, from lives that aren’t.  –Tom Head

There are various online references from the Associated press to the Paul R. Allen story however very little for the Roy Brown Story though it has been independently confirmed– that there is a Roy Brown with the same birthdate (7/24/54) in the Louisiana prison system by using the VINELink inmate locator system.

Other Sources:



See snopes.com  for their concept of reasonable justifications:   http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/roybrown.asp


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2 replies

  1. Totally ludicrous sentencing by the judge. Why does Bernie Ebbers get 26 years and this CEO get only 40 months to serve for a 3 Billion dollar crime? Mr.Allen is from Oakton, Va and the case was tried in Alexandria, Va, their may be some connection……just maybe. When you get a lawyer it’s the old saying “you can’t get brain surgery for a dollar and a quarter”. The homeless man had a state appointed attorney, end of story. Sad story indeed.


  2. To many times av wi seen dis played out! Now di guestion is wat are wi gon do bout it, dem all weys give us dem short end of just-us, it’s like dem a sey. Protect&serve, dem a protect dem own anna serve us wit di (B.S), nah mean…..


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