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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Should the controversial “three strikes” law apply to con men?

That’s the question facing a man accused of bilking South Los Angeles
people out of their homes in a foreclosure scam is facing a
potential life sentence in a rare use of California’s three-strikes
law for a white-collar crime.

Timothy Barnett was arrested in April and he’s pleaded not
guilty to 23 felonies. His lawyer says he’s done nothing wrong.
Barnett has two 1997 convictions for burglary stemming from
fraud schemes in which he met the victims at their homes.

Los Angeles County prosecutors say he’s an incorrigible criminal
who deserves to get 25 years to life if he’s convicted of a third

But critics say the 1994 three-strikes law was designed to put
away repeatedly violent and serious offenders, not con men.


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