Justia White Collar Crime Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States v. Ransom
Defendant Herman Ransom appealed a district court's denial of his motion for acquittal or for a new trial after he was convicted on wire fraud and theft of public money. Defendant was accused of falsifying his time sheets from work at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When Defendant took full-day leaves, he listed "8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m." as his working hours. Though an assistant prepared the time sheets, he signed them and a supervisor approved them. The records were then forwarded via wire to a central processing unit. HUD received an anonymous complaint about Defendant's frequent absences from the office, and an internal investigation would reveal the discrepancy in his time sheets. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Defendant challenged the validity of the evidence presented against him at trial. Upon review of the record and the applicable legal standard, the Tenth Circuit found sufficient evidence to support Defendant's conviction on wire fraud and theft charges. The Court affirmed the lower court's decision and Defendant's conviction.
United States v. Carnagie
Defendant Linda Carnagie entered into a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by using false information to obtain housing loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). For a fee, a third party provided fake pay stubs, Social Security Numbers and other requisite documents to persons with no credit or bad credit so that they could apply for FHA-insured home loans. Defendant was one such person who paid for the fake documents. Defendant did not dispute that the loan application she made contained false information, nor did she dispute that her typewritten name appeared on most of the documents. Instead, Defendant argued that she never signed any of the documents and that fact proved she was not involved in the scheme. A jury convicted Defendant on several counts of making false statements. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to convict her of many of those counts, and she also challenged the length of her sentence. Upon consideration of Defendant's arguments, the Court found none persuasive. The Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence.
United States v. Hillman
After a jury trial, Defendant David Hillman was convicted on several money laundering charges arising from a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the insurance company for which he worked. Defendant's defense at trial was that he was duped by his then-girlfriend and co-worker, Hillary Shaffer, as to the source of the money. Defendant maintained that Ms. Shaffer told him the money they deposited in their joint bank account came from her grandmother's trust. The trial record revealed that the source of the money came from inactive annuities of the company's clients. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Defendant argued multiple errors at trial: prosecutorial misconduct, a violation of his due process rights, and misguided jury instructions all denied him a fair trial. Upon review of Defendant's arguments against the trial record, the Tenth Circuit concluded that none of his claims fundamentally affected the fairness of his trial or were otherwise an abuse of discretion by the trial court. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Defendant's conviction.
United States v. Fishman
Defendant-Appellant Steven Fishman was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to commit money laundering. He was sentenced to 26 months' imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution. Defendant filed a host of pre-trial motions, all of which were denied. The denial of these motions served as the basis of his appeal to the Tenth Circuit. In particular, Defendant argued that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction and sentence. The Tenth Circuit reviewed the lower court's record, and found the evidence presented was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction and sentence. The Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence.
United States v. Thompson
Defendant Christine Thompson pled guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud. The district court sentenced her to 57 months' imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and ordered her to pay $1.39 million in restitution. On appeal, Defendant argued that the length of her prison sentence was substantially unreasonable. A 64-count indictment charged Defendant and two of her former husbands for their involvement in multiple bogus oil-and-gas drilling projects. Over the course of two years, Defendant defrauded over thirty investors. Defendant argued that her criminal history "over-represented" the seriousness of her prior offenses. Furthermore, Defendant suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the after-effects of emotional and physical abuse from family and one of her former husbands. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Defendant argued that the district court did not take these mitigating factors into consideration when it sentenced her to prison. The Tenth Circuit found that Defendant could not overcome the "presumption of reasonableness" by demonstrating that her criminal history and mental and emotional conditions entitled her to a lesser sentence. Accordingly, the Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence.
United States v. Saignaphone
Defendant Manikhone Saignaphone pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government. The district court sentenced her to 26 monthsâ imprisonment. Defendant appealed the sentence, arguing that her sentence was unreasonable in light of the lesser sentences given to her co-conspirators. The Tenth Circuit reviewed the record and found that Defendant failed to overcome the presumption that her sentence was unreasonable. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the lower courtâs decision and Defendantâs sentence.