Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's order dismissing an indictment with prejudice. The indictment charged defendant, the owner and operator of an adoption agency, for fraud. The court held that there was no Brady violation where the evidence clearly was not suppressed; discovery violations did not warrant imposed sanctions where the district court failed to impose the least sever sanction and the government's violations of the discovery deadlines did not warrant dismissing the indictment with prejudice; and defendant failed to demonstrate prejudice sufficient to support the district court's severe sanction and thus the district court abused its discretion when it dismissed defendant's indictment with prejudice. The court remanded for reassignment of the case to a different district judge. View "United States v. Swenson" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions and sentences for charges related to his efforts in convincing about a hundred people to lend his companies millions of dollars. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to support the mail and wire fraud counts; there was sufficient evidence to support defendant's conviction for giving false testimony during a bankruptcy court proceeding; the district court's decision denying defendant's motion to suppress some prior statements under the Fifth Amendment was unreviewable because defendant neither testified nor proffered what he would have said; challenges to the admission of several summary charts denied; challenges to jury instructions as infirm were rejected; and there was no procedural error in defendant's sentence. View "United States v. Spalding" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for aiding and abetting aggravated theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive two-year prison term. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant because the jury could reasonably infer that when defendant accessed his bank accounts online, the online descriptions of the deposits were the same as reflected on the paper bank statements admitted at trial. Furthermore, the jury could have reasonably inferred that prior to the filing of the April 2013 tax returns, defendant knew or was deliberately ignorant regarding the fact that the bank drops were IRS tax refunds. Therefore, defendant's argument that he did not have the necessary intent under Rosemond v. United States, was thus unavailing. View "United States v. Carbins, Jr." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for five counts relating to a scheme under which he certified individuals for home health care in exchange for $400 a month. The court held that there was no Ex Post Facto violation where defendant's conduct was illegal regardless of whether he was required to have a face-to-face meeting prior to certification; the district court did not reversibly err in permitting testimony from the government's expert; the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of each count; and the jury instructions provided by the district court fairly and adequately covered the issues presented by the case. View "United States v. Dailey" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed Defendants Atul and Jiten "Jay" Nandas' convictions for various charges stemming from a conspiracy to fraudulently procure H-1B visas. The court held that the district court did not err by admitting into evidence a letter that Jay wrote, because the letter did not directly allude to Atul; even if it was error to admit the letter, such error was harmless; there was no plain error in the wire fraud charges; the district court did not plainly err by not giving the jury a unanimity instruction; even granting arguendo that it was error to admit evidence of additional visa petitions and medical insurance, such error did not affect defendants' substantial rights; there was no error in applying a two point sentencing enhancement under USSG 2B1.1(b)(10)(B) and (C) for committing a substantial portion of the alleged scheme from outside the United States and for committing an offense involving sophisticated means of concealment; any possible error in the loss calculation was harmless; and defendants' claim that the district court did not consider sentencing disparity bordered on the frivolous. View "United States v. Nanda" on Justia Law

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Defendant, operator of a tax preparation business, was convicted of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the tax code and of three counts of filing fraudulent tax returns. The Fifth Circuit upheld the convictions and amount of the restitution award, but modified the judgment so the restitution obligation was limited to the supervised release term that was the only period during which restitution can be imposed for a tax offense. View "United States v. Westbrooks" on Justia Law

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Defendant, owner of a wholesale salon equipment business, appealed his 36 month sentence after pleading guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return. The court held that the district court did not clearly err when it determined, based on the circumstantial evidence, that it was more likely than not that defendant participated in his customers' structuring activities. Therefore, the court concluded that defendant's sentence was not procedurally unreasonable. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the upward variance to defendant's sentence where the district court explained that it was imposing the above-Guidelines sentence based on a variety of factors, including, inter alia, the magnitude of defendant's dishonesty and unwillingness to abide by society's rules, the aggravated nature of the criminal conduct, and defendant's exceptional business success had a significant foundation in his unlawful activity. Accordingly, the court affirmed the sentence. View "United States v. Nguyen" on Justia Law

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Six defendants appealed their convictions for Medicare fraud, as well as paying and receiving kickbacks for referrals. Defendants' scheme involved fraudulently billing Medicare for services provided at a community mental health center. The court concluded that the district court did not err in declining to suppress the evidence seized pursuant to the warrant; the indictment does not present any reversible error; the court rejected claims of evidentiary errors; the court rejected claims of error regarding the jury instructions; the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and substantive health care fraud, as well as the kickback counts; there was no Eighth Amendment problem with the forfeiture order; and the court agreed with the government that the district court erred by deciding to offset defendants' restitution obligations with any amount collected pursuant to the forfeiture order. Accordingly, the court modified the restitution and forfeiture orders to eliminate the offset. The court affirmed the judgment in all other respects. View "United States v. Sanjar" on Justia Law

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Defendant Abraham Fisch, a criminal defense attorney, was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax evasion. Defendant and Lloyd Williams, a former FBI informant, would approach defendants who had criminal charges pending against them and told the defendants to pay them large sums of money as purported legal fees. Fisch and Williams promised to use the money to pay off federal officials but, in actuality, had no such government contacts. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant of the offenses; Fisch failed to make out a Fifth Amendment violation based on the denial of a hearing regarding the lis pendens on his home; Fisch failed to establish a Sixth Amendment violation by the government's seeking a lis pendens on his home as an asset traceable to his criminal proceeds; Fisch failed to make the requisite showing of prosecutorial misconduct; the court rejected Fisch's challenges to the jury instructions; and the court rejected Fisch's challenges to the district court's post-trial forfeiture orders. The court declined to address Fisch's ineffective assistance of counsel claims on direct appeal. Accordingly, the court affirmed as to all issues except the denial of Fisch's ineffective assistance of counsel claims. View "United States v. Fisch" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence and conviction for filing false liens or encumbrances. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to convict defendant where a jury could conclude from the filings at issue that defendant was attempting to file false liens or encumbrances; the district court did not abuse its discretion by answering a jury note where, among other things, responding would have conflicted with the jury instructions; and the district court did not err by adding a six-level enhancement under USSG 2A6.1(b)(1) for threatening or harassing communications where there was evidence that defendant threatened to file liens. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Jordan" on Justia Law