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

Articles Posted in White Collar Crime
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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant’s convictions for conspiring to defraud the United States and four counts of wire fraud and the sentence imposed by the district court, thus rejecting Defendant’s arguments on appeal. Defendant was convicted of knowingly procuring government contracts for his construction company. The district court sentenced Defendant to thirty months’ imprisonment and entered an order of forfeiture, in the form of a money judgment, in an amount totaling more than $6.7 million, which the court determined was the amount of the proceeds of Defendant’s crimes. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; (2) even assuming the prosecutor’s statements made during closing arguments were improper and deliberate, the district court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that its instruction likely cured any prejudice and that any surviving prejudice did not affect the jury’s verdict; and (3) there was no error in the district court’s forfeiture order and money judgment. View "United States v. Gorski" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant’s motion for a new trial in his criminal case pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 33. Appellant was convicted of antitrust conspiracy. The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s conviction and sentence. Appellant later moved for a new trial based on freshly discovered evidence, arguing that the government offended the due process guarantees memorialized in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The district court denied the motion, reasoning that the earlier disclosure of the freshly discovered evidence would not have changed the outcome of the criminal case. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court’s finding that Appellant suffered no cognizable prejudice from the delayed disclosure of the information at issue was not in error. View "United States v. Peake" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Appellant’s convictions of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit both. The convictions arose from Appellant’s writing of false opinion letters so that his two co-conspirators could sell stock to the public in a “pump and dump” scheme. On appeal, Appellant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions in light of his interpretation of section 3(a)(9) of the Securities Act and that the district court constructively amended the indictment in its instructions to the jury. The First Circuit held (1) even if Appellant’s interpretation of section 3(a)(9) was correct, the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions; and (2) Appellant’s constructive amendment claim was without merit. View "United States v. Weed" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the sentence imposed on Defendant after Defendant pleaded guilty to criminal charges based on her conduct during the court of a large-scale fraudulent financial scheme, which she led for five years. The district court sentenced Defendant to 135 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and to twenty-four months’ imprisonment for one count of aggravated identity theft and ordered that Defendant serve these terms consecutively, for a total term of 159 months’ imprisonment. On appeal, the First Circuit held that Defendant failed to carry her heavy burden that her within-the-range sentence was unreasonable. View "United States v. Castrillon-Sanchez" on Justia Law

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When the five defendants in this case failed to pass the required exams to obtain their medical licenses, they gained certification by obtaining falsified scores. All five defendants were indicted for conspiracy to commit honest-services mail fraud, money or property mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The First Circuit affirmed Defendants’ convictions for honest-services mail fraud conspiracy but reversed the convictions for money or property mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions for conspiracy to commit honest-services mail fraud but insufficient evidence to support both Defendants’ convictions for money or property mail fraud and the identity theft convictions. View "United States v. Berroa" on Justia Law

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Defendant divorced his wife in order to transfer assets fraudulently and avoid some tax liability. The district court set aside the separation agreement as a fraudulent transfer and proceeded to redivide and reallocate certain assets applying Massachusetts law. The government’s tax liens attached directly to any assets allocated to Defendant, but the government argued that its tax liens also attached indirectly to certain assets allocated to Defendant’s wife. This appeal concerned the district court’s allocation of two assets that the district court divided more or less evenly. The First Circuit vacated in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) with regard to funds that were directly traceable to the tax shelter that Defendant used to reduce his taxable income for several years, it was not clear whether the district court considered fourteen factors required by Massachusetts law in order to arrive at an equitable division of the parties’ assets; and (2) the government was not entitled to Defendant’s wife’s half of the proceeds from the sale of property owned by Defendant and his wife in Massachusetts on a lien-tracing theory. Remanded. View "United States v. Baker" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of illegal insider trading. The conviction arose from Defendant’s act of receiving material, nonpublic information about a local bank from a fellow member of the Oakley Country Club and then using that information to make a substantial trading profit. Defendant appealed, arguing, in part, that the district court wrongly instructed the jury on the mens rea element of his offense. Defendant did not object to these instructions at trial. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the government presented sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict; and (2) the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury regarding the mens rea element of Defendant’s offense, but Defendant failed to establish that the error was plain error. View "United States v. Bray" on Justia Law

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After a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of both conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and healthcare fraud. The convictions arose from Defendant’s role in an extensive scheme to defraud Medicare by billing the program for services provided to patients falsely presented as eligible to receive them. Defendant was sentenced to thirty-six months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Defendant appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she acted with the required culpable state of mind. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the evidence was sufficient to permit a reasonable fact-finder to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Defendant conspired to commit, and committed, healthcare fraud. View "United States v. Troisi" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, and money laundering. Defendant appealed, alleging trial error. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err by (1) failing to sua sponte give a limiting instruction as to testimony by Defendant’s associate that the associate had pled guilty to one count of healthcare fraud arising from the same scheme; (2) permitting witness testimony about Medicare regulations; and (3) denying Defendant’s preferred jury instruction as to the meaning of a particular certification requirement in the relevant Medicare provisions. View "United States v. Galatis" on Justia Law

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Defendants, who previously served as high-ranking officials in the Massachusetts Office of the Commissioner of Probation (OCP), were convicted for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) violations, RICO conspiracy, and mail fraud based on their roles in a hiring scheme at the OCP. The First Circuit reversed the convictions and ordered the entry of judgments of acquittal, holding that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions because the Government failed to demonstrate the the conduct of these Massachusetts state officials satisfied the appropriate criminal statutes. Specifically, the Government overstepped its authority in using federal criminal statutes to police the hiring practices of Defendants. View "United States v. Tavares" on Justia Law