Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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Defendant, the former Governor of Virginia, appealed his convictions for eleven counts of corruption. Defendant raised numerous errors on appeal. The court concluded that the district court did not err by denying defendant's motion for severance and his request for ex parte consideration of this motion; the district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to adequately question prospective jurors on the subject of pretrial publicity; the court rejected defendant's claims of evidentiary errors; the district court's jury instructions did not misstate fundamental principles of federal bribery law; and the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions pursuant to the honest-services wire fraud statute and the Hobbs Act. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. McDonnell" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence after pleading guilty to wire fraud; money laundering; making a false statement on a loan application to a financial institution, the accounts of which are insured by the FDIC; and corrupt interference with the internal revenue laws of the United States. The court concluded that the district court did not err by increasing defendant's offense level under the Guidelines by 2 levels under U.S.S.G. 3B1.3 for abuse of a position of trust; by increasing his offense level under the Guidelines by 20 levels under U.S.S.G. 2B1.1(b)(1)(K); and by failing sua sponte to appoint various experts to assist in his defense at sentencing. Accordingly, the court affirmed defendant's sentence.View "United States v. Weiss" on Justia Law

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Defendant pled guilty to three counts arising from his fraudulent activity in connection with a client's initial public offering. Defendant sought habeas relief, contending that, in light of the Supreme Court's intervening decision in Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders, the conduct for which he was convicted is no longer criminal. The court found Janus inapplicable outside the context of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), implied private right of action. Therefore, Janus does not affect defendant's criminal convictions. Because defendant's convictions are proper under current law, the court concluded that his section 2241 petition necessarily failed. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of his petition.View "Prousalis, Jr. v. Moore" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his convictions stemming from multiple offenses arising from a health care fraud scheme. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of the health care offenses and of the perjury offense; the district court did not err in denying defendant's post-trial request for acquittal or a new trial on inconsistent verdicts where defendant's argument was baseless; defendant's sentence, which was less than half the low end of his Guidelines range, was reasonable; and there was no basis for concluding that the district court erred with respect to the forfeiture proceedings. View "United States v. Louthian, Sr." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for crimes related to his involvement in an investment scheme which resulted in nearly $100 million dollars in losses for investors. The court held that defendant's Fifth Amendment rights were not violated where the government limited its case to events occurring while defendant was an owner of A&O to simply prove a more narrow conspiracy than was charged in the superseding indictment. Because the conspiracy proven was within the scope of those alleged in the unredacted indictment, the narrowing at most created a non-fatal variance. Finally, the court rejected defendant's claims that his sentence was procedurally and substantively unreasonable. Accordingly, the court affirmed the convictions and sentence. View "United States v. Allmendinger" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of crimes related to his involvement in an elaborate fraudulent sweepstakes scheme out of Costa Rica that primarily targeted elderly United States citizens. On appeal, defendant challenged the restitution order that the district court entered after the court remanded his case for resentencing. The court held that the district court lacked the authority to reconsider the restitution on remand and vacated the order, remanding with instructions to the district court to reinstate the previous restitution order. View "United States v. Pileggi" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed from two counts of theft of public money and one count of committing acts affecting a personal financial interest. The court held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to dismiss where it properly exercised extraterritorial jurisdiction over him. The court also held that the district court properly denied defendant's motion to suppress his post-arrest statements to FBI and DOS agents. The court further held that there was sufficient evidence to sustain his convictions on the two counts of theft of public money. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Ayesh" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of federal program bribery and extortion under color of official night. The convictions arose from charges that, while a state legislator, defendant secured state funding for a public university in exchange for employment by the university. The court held that the evidence was sufficient for the jury to convict defendant; the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to instruct the jury as to a gratuity; and the district court did not plainly err in its application of a fourteen-level sentencing enhancement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Hamilton" on Justia Law

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Defendants Jacqueline, Tamatha, and Jimmy Hilton challenged their convictions on charges involving a scheme to defraud the Woodsmiths Company. The charges in this case arose from a two-year scheme in which defendants defrauded the company by stealing and cashing numerous checks written to the company by its customers. At issue was whether the statutes prohibiting identity theft and aggravated identity theft, 18 U.S.C. 1028(a)(7) and 1028A, under which Jimmy and Jacqueline were convicted, encompassed the theft of the identity of a corporation. The court held that these statutes were fairly ambiguous regarding whether corporate victims were within the class of protected victims and vacated the conviction of Jimmy and Jacqueline on these counts. The court concluded that defendants' other arguments were without merit and therefore affirmed Tamatha's convictions, affirmed the remaining convictions of Jacqueline and Jimmy, but vacated the sentences imposed and remand those convictions for resentencing. View "United States v. Hilton, Jr." on Justia Law

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Defendant-Appellant G. Martin Wynn, a professional engineer with the engineering firm of Talbert & Bright, Inc., was convicted of mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation based on his performance of services to Oconee County, South Carolina, in connection with its project to extend the runway at the Oconee County Regional Airport. Instead of procuring a required permit for the runway extension project from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ("DHEC"), Defendant cut a valid permit off of an older set of plans prepared for a previous airport project and fraudulently attached that permit to the plans for the runway extension. He then mailed the fraudulently permitted plans to Oconee County and later emailed them to the DHEC. Following his conviction, the district court sentenced Defendant to 12 months and 1 day in prison and ordered him to pay Oconee County $118,000 in restitution. On appeal, Defendant contended that the district court erred in instructing the jury on the mail fraud and wire fraud statutes and that the evidence was insufficient to convict him on the offenses had they been properly presented to the jury. He also challenged the district court’s calculation of the amount of loss found for purposes of sentencing and ordering restitution. Finding no abuse of discretion and that the evidence presented against him was sufficient to support his conviction, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment. View "United State v. Wynn" on Justia Law