SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge in San Francisco on May 1 sentenced Samuel "Mouli" Cohen to 22 years in prison. Prosecutors in the case, who described Cohen as a "congenital liar and serial fraudster," argued for the lengthy prison term. He was handed what is reported to be one of harshest sentences in a white-collar criminal case.
Cohen was arrested in August 2011 and pled innocent to all charges. In November, he was convicted of soliciting investments in his digital-jukebox company by lying about its success. The jury found that Cohen lied when he claimed that Ecast Inc., the company he founded in 1999, was on the verge of being acquired by Microsoft in a stock swap deal. Cohen left the company in 2002. Unrelated to Cohen's case, Ecast shut down its network operations on March 1, 2012.
Prosecutors say Cohen's fraud brought about the collapse of the Vanguard Public Foundation, a nonprofit tied to actors Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. The foundation put up $30 million between 2002 and 2008 to purchase shares in Ecast Inc., the jukebox company he founded in 1999.
At this week's sentencing, Judge Charles Breyer set a Thursday hearing to consider fines against Cohen that could total $60 million.