Crime

The fraud case has polarized the Coast. What do you think of Albert Diaz's sentence?

At a sentencing hearing for his role in an insurance fraud scheme, popular Coast doctor Albert Diaz told the prosecution team, "You have not given me justice."

Diaz, 78, was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months in prison, after a jury convicted him of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, fraud, falsifying records to cover up his crimes and distribution of a controlled substance — ketamine, a drug used for sedation.

But sentencing guidelines for Diaz's charges suggested 9 to 11 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett only sentenced him to serve one-third of the suggested sentencing guideline.

Starrett took Diaz's age into consideration and told the doctor that while he committed "very serious" crimes, the more than 100 letters sent on his behalf indicated his "reputation and respect are still intact."

Diaz's wife, Kay, served him with divorce papers at the Stone County jail in late May, around the time of their 28th wedding anniversary, court records show. She cited desertion as the grounds.

Diaz's case has polarized much of South Mississippi. Supporters of Diaz filled the courtroom Thursday as he received his prison sentence. Many on the Coast believe Diaz should be free and not have to serve any jail time, while others believe his prison sentence was just.

What do you think?

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