The new US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in a memorandum for all Federal prosecutors, has initiated a policy on increased charging and sentencing that could further push accused Iran sanctions evader, Reza Zarrab, into deciding to take a plea in his case, rather than risk a very long sentence, should he be convicted at trial.
AG Sessions, in a departure from the previous position of the Department of Justice, is frankly demanding that prosecutors seek to secure the maximum sentences from the Courts, including mandatory minimum sentences, where applicable. Readers who wish to review the complete text of Sessions' memorandum, can access it here.
Regarding Reza Zarrab, his defense team should now fully expect to receive a sentence, if convicted, that may now exceed the 75 years which most observers have calculated is possible. Remember, prosecutors can dump over $400m, in oil sales profits, as well as the value of the gold that Zarrab allegedly utilized to barter for the oil, to initially evade the US Dollar issue, on sanctioned transactions with Iran, into their sentencing computation, causing it to literally go through the roof of the advisory Sentencing Guidelines.
Could he conceivably receive a Life Sentence, which under the Sentencing Reform Act means life, without the possibility of parole or release ? It is entirely possible, or he could receive sentences like the 110 years, meted out to R Allen Stanford, America's most prolific Ponzi schemer. A sentence like that would certainly send a message to would-be sanctions violators.
Remember, if Zarrab enters a plea, he will be required to implicate his conspirators and confederates, who will then be indicted, and themselves be looking a long prison sentences, which means they would also flip on their associates. Eventually, the entire Zarrab-Zanjani-Monfared network could be dismantled.