Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in White Collar Crime
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The First Circuit affirmed Defendants' convictions for securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, holding that Defendants' claims of trial and sentencing error were unavailing.Defendants were two biostaticians employed by two publicly traded biopharmaceutical companies. The jury found Defendants guilty of conspiracy of commit securities fraud and all counts of securities fraud with which they were charged. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in denying Defendants' motions for judgments of acquittal as to the conspiracy and securities fraud convictions; (2) did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendants' motion to compel production of a letter from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; (3) imposed sentences that were without error; and (4) did not err in awarding restitution. View "United States v. Chan" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's conviction of violating federal laws by conspiring to receive, and of receiving, kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company Insys in exchange for prescribing its synthetic opioid, Subsys, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's arguments on appeal.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the government introduced sufficient evidence to prove that Defendant participated in a conspiracy to receive kickbacks or to prove that he accepted those kickbacks in exchange for prescribing Subsys; (2) Defendant's conduct fell outside the Anti-Kickback Statute's safe harbor provision; and (3) the district court did not err in failing to instruct the jury about that same safe harbor provision. View "United States v. Clough" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of aiding and abetting the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information and obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) inferring from certain evidence that Defendant knew that protected information was being accessed was neither unreasonable, insupportable, nor overly speculative, and therefore, the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction of aiding and abetting the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction for obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense. View "United States v. Luthra" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed both of Defendant's federal racketeering-related convictions but vacated and remanded the prison sentence, forfeiture order, and restitution order, holding that the district court erred in several respects.Defendant was convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, federal mail fraud, and violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 331(a), 333(a). The district court sentenced Defendant to ninety-six months' imprisonment, issued a forfeiture order in the amount of $175,000, and ordered restitution. On appeal, Defendant challenged his convictions for racketeering and racketeering conspiracy and his sentence. The First Circuit remanded the case, holding (1) the convictions were supported by sufficient evidence; (2) the district court erred in its reasoning declining to apply certain enhancements; (3) neither of the two reasons the district court gave for limiting the forfeiture order was sustainable; and (4) the district court too narrowly construed who counts as a "victim" under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. View "United States v. Chin" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of securities and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) there was sufficient evidence to sustain Defendant's convictions and that, to the extent that the jury instructions may have been overbroad, any error was harmless; (2) this Court need not address whether the wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. 1343, applies extraterritorially because Defendant was convicted under a proper domestic application of the statute; and (3) the district court correctly determined that it lacked the authority to order the government to lodge Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties requests with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to seek evidence that may have been favorable to Defendant's defense. View "United States v. McLellan" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of three counts of securities fraud for insider trading, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his claims.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the district court did not err in admitting into evidence a redacted recording and transcript of Defendant's Securities and Exchange Commission deposition; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in placing limits on Defendant's ability to cross-examine a witness; (3) Defendant waived his challenge to the district court's decision prohibiting Defendant from entering into evidence a certain email exchange; and (4) any prejudice resulting from the admission of the testimony of Defendant's ex-wife did not affect the outcome of the trial. View "United States v. Altvater" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendants of mail fraud and violations of section one of the Sherman Act, holding that Defendants were not entitled to reversal of their convictions or a reduction in the restitution amounts Defendant were ordered to pay.Defendants were school bus operators who contracted with the Caguas, Puerto Rico municipal school system. In 2013, Defendants banded together with four other school bus operators in a bid-rigging and market-allocation conspiracy, thereby protecting themselves from the price-reducing effects of fair competition. After they were convicted they appealed, claiming, among other things, an absence of intestate nexus and insufficiency of the evidence. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the bid rigging in this case was well within the reach of the Sherman Act; (2) there was no variance from or constructive amendment to the indictment; (3) the district court acted within its discretion in excluding evidence at trial about whether Defendants' conduct really cost Caguas money; (4) the district court did not err in setting the restitution amounts; and (5) Defendants were not entitled to relief on their remaining allegations of error. View "United States v. Vega-Martinez" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions for insider-trading securities fraud and related conspiracy offenses, holding that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions and that the district court did not err in instructing the jury or in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial.Defendant was convicted of eleven counts of inside-trading securities fraud and related conspiracy offenses. The First Circuit affirmed the convictions, holding (1) the jury's verdicts rested on sufficient evidence showing that Defendant owed a corporate inside a duty of trust and confidence, and the evidence similarly sufficed to prove Defendant's willful breach of his duty to the corporate insider; (2) the district court's decisions to give or refuse to give certain jury instructions were without error; and (3) the district court did not manifestly abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial. View "United States v. Kanodia" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the decision of the district court granting Defendants' motion to dismiss the indictment against them for failing to satisfy the "obtaining of property" element of Hobbs Act extortion, holding that the "obtaining of property" element was satisfied in this case.Defendants were two officials of the City of Boston, Massachusetts, who allegedly threatened to withhold permits from a production company that need the permits to hold a music festival unless the company agreed to hire works from a specific union to work at the event. Defendants were indicted for Hobbs act extortion and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding that the evidence was insufficient to show, as it interpreted "obtaining of property" in the Hobbs Act extortion provision to require, that Defendants received a personal benefit from the transfer of wages and benefits to the union workers that Defendants allegedly directed the production company to make. The First Circuit vacated the order of dismissal, holding that the "obtaining of property" element may be satisfied by evidence showing that Defendants induced the victim's consent to transfer property to third parties that Defendants identified, even where Defendants did not incur any personal benefit from the transfer. View "United States v. Brissette" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s sentence for wire fraud and theft in connection with health care, holding that Defendant’s upwardly variant sentence was both procedurally and substantively reasonable.Defendant pled guilty to one count of theft in connection with health care and one count of wire fraud. The district court imposed an upwardly variant sentence of sixty months’ imprisonment on each count of conviction, to run concurrently and to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court also ordered Defendant to forfeit $394,300 and to pay $590,296 in restitution to the victim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Defendant’s sentence was neither procedurally unreasonable nor substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Gierbolini-Rivera" on Justia Law