Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for three counts of soliciting or receiving an illegal kickback related to a federal health-care program and one count of making a false statement to federal agents. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant of three charges under the anti-kickback statute. In this case, the district court identified one element of the charges as proof that defendant solicited or received a payment that was paid primarily in order to induce the referral of patients insured by Medicare or Medicaid. Then the district court found that the evidence showed, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant solicited kickbacks, represented that he could control the referrals, and actually received money for the few referrals that were made through his efforts. Finally, defendant's challenge to his false statement conviction failed. View "United States v. Iqbal" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to abstain from a suit arising out of the collapse of Thomas Petters' massive Ponzi scheme, because the case before the district court was duplicative of the case before the other federal court. While the district court appropriately invoked its discretion to abstain, the district court should have stayed the action rather than dismiss it. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment dismissing the action and remanded for further proceedings. View "Ritchie Capital Management LLC v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed Defendants Springer and Makohoniuk's convictions for bank fraud. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that defendants intended to cause a financial loss and that their scheme subjected the financial institutions to a risk of loss; the jury instructions did not put defendants at risk of being convicted of bank fraud based on trivial irrelevancies where the "materiality" qualification obviates any fear that the instructions could allow the jury to convict defendants for harmless misrepresentations; the jury had ample evidence to find materiality; the indictment fully and fairly apprised defendants of the charges they must meet at trial; submission of an aiding and abetting instruction was not error; the government did not violate Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) by admitting evidence of the underlying scheme; the jury had sufficient evidence to conclude that the HUD-1s were false; the district court did not err by sua sponte severing Makohoniuk's trial from Springer's; and Makohoniuk knowingly waived his right to testify at trial. View "United States v. Springer" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for tax evasion, mail fraud, and wire fraud for conduct relating to the operation of three companies that he owned. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by limiting defendant's cross-examination of a prosecution witness; the district court did not clearly err in determining that defendant's base offense level was 22 based on a tax loss of greater than $1,000,000; and the district court did not clearly err by applying and two-level adjustment under USSG 3C1.1 for obstruction of justice. Because the government concedes that it did not establish sufficient evidence to support the application of the USSG 2T1.1(b)(1) enhancement for failing to report income exceeding $10,000 from criminal activity, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Montanari" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to discharge a restitution obligation resulting from defendant's involvement in a fraud scheme as the owner of a life insurance company. The court held that the time limit on criminal appeals was a claims-processing rule so even if the prior panel mistakenly applied the rule governing civil appeals, there was no bar to the court's consideration of the current appeal. The court concluded that the district court correctly denied defendant's motion on the merits because the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. 3663A(c)(1)(A)(ii), did not provide authority to reduce the amount of a restitution obligation to match the value of a negotiated settlement with the victim in civil proceedings. Consequently, the district court did not have authority to grant defendant's request to deem the restitution obligation discharged if he paid the negotiated settlement. The district court, however, did not foreclose defendant from seeking relief under section 3664(j)(2)(B) upon a proper showing, and neither did the court. View "United States v. Whitbeck" on Justia Law

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Midamar Corporation and Jalel Aossey conditionally plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit several offenses in connection with a scheme to sale falsely labeled halal meat. William Aossey was convicted of conspiracy, making false statements on export certificates, and wire fraud in connection with the scheme. On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss, arguing that Congress had reserved exclusive enforcement authority over the alleged statutory violations to the Secretary of Agriculture, and that the United States Attorney could not proceed against defendants in a criminal prosecution. The court rejected defendants' contention that two sections of the Meat Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. 674 and 607(e), show that Congress removed these prosecutions from the jurisdiction of the district courts. Rather, the court concluded that the district court did not err in denying the motion to dismiss, because Congress afforded the Executive two independent avenues to address false or misleading meat labeling. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Aossey, Jr." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence and order of restitution after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud. The court concluded that the district court committed procedural error when it departed upward from the advisory sentencing guidelines and thus remanded for resentencing. In this case, the analysis the district court provided did not adequately explain and support the district court's significant departure from Criminal History Category II to Category VI. The court also concluded that defendant's appeal waiver was enforceable as to the restitution order and thus dismissed the appeal of the restitution order. View "United States v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

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Defendants Delgrosso and Cain were convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Delgrosso also was found guilty of failing to file IRS Form 8300. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendants' motions for a new trial based on Jerry Wright's post-trial affidavit because, even if Wright testified or the affidavit were admitted, the Government could impeach Wright's credibility by introducing evidence of his seven prior felony convictions. Furthermore, even if the jury believed Wright's statements, that does not mean that it would likely acquit defendants. In this case, the Government provided ample evidence that would allow the jury to conclude that Delgrosso and Cain knew or willfully blinded themselves to the fact that Wright acquired his cash through drug sales. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Delgrosso's motion for a new trial based on Government misconduct under Brady v. Maryland where it was untimely and, even if it was timely, his allegations either relate to issues that were irrelevant or were directly contradicted; the district court did not plainly err by instructing the jury on willful blindness; the district court did not err in denying Delgrosso's motion for acquittal where sufficient evidence supported the jury's verdict; and the district court did not clearly err in denying Delgrosso safety-valve relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Delgrosso" on Justia Law

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Defendant pled guilty to eight counts of a sixteen count indictment that included wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. Defendant appealed his sentence of 111 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release. The court affirmed the sentence but remanded the forfeiture order for further proceedings. The district court, upon rehearing, ordered forfeiture of the entirety of defendant's Castlerock property under 18 U.S.C. 982(a)(1). The court held that the evidence satisfied the requisite nexus between defendant's money-laundering convictions and the entirety of the property at issue. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Beltramea" on Justia Law

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Defendant was ordered to pay restitution of almost $500,000 after he pled guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The court concluded that, although the district court missed the 90-day deadline, the district court retained its power to order restitution; the government failed to provide sufficient evidence of the ultimate losses defendant caused the victim banks; and since more than four years have passed after defendant was originally sentenced, and in the interest of finality, the court declined to remand for a third restitution proceeding. Therefore, the court vacated the restitution amount. View "United States v. Adejumo" on Justia Law