Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to abstain from a suit arising out of the collapse of Thomas Petters' massive Ponzi scheme, because the case before the district court was duplicative of the case before the other federal court. While the district court appropriately invoked its discretion to abstain, the district court should have stayed the action rather than dismiss it. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment dismissing the action and remanded for further proceedings. View "Ritchie Capital Management LLC v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed Defendants Springer and Makohoniuk's convictions for bank fraud. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate that defendants intended to cause a financial loss and that their scheme subjected the financial institutions to a risk of loss; the jury instructions did not put defendants at risk of being convicted of bank fraud based on trivial irrelevancies where the "materiality" qualification obviates any fear that the instructions could allow the jury to convict defendants for harmless misrepresentations; the jury had ample evidence to find materiality; the indictment fully and fairly apprised defendants of the charges they must meet at trial; submission of an aiding and abetting instruction was not error; the government did not violate Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) by admitting evidence of the underlying scheme; the jury had sufficient evidence to conclude that the HUD-1s were false; the district court did not err by sua sponte severing Makohoniuk's trial from Springer's; and Makohoniuk knowingly waived his right to testify at trial. View "United States v. Springer" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for tax evasion, mail fraud, and wire fraud for conduct relating to the operation of three companies that he owned. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by limiting defendant's cross-examination of a prosecution witness; the district court did not clearly err in determining that defendant's base offense level was 22 based on a tax loss of greater than $1,000,000; and the district court did not clearly err by applying and two-level adjustment under USSG 3C1.1 for obstruction of justice. Because the government concedes that it did not establish sufficient evidence to support the application of the USSG 2T1.1(b)(1) enhancement for failing to report income exceeding $10,000 from criminal activity, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Montanari" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to discharge a restitution obligation resulting from defendant's involvement in a fraud scheme as the owner of a life insurance company. The court held that the time limit on criminal appeals was a claims-processing rule so even if the prior panel mistakenly applied the rule governing civil appeals, there was no bar to the court's consideration of the current appeal. The court concluded that the district court correctly denied defendant's motion on the merits because the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. 3663A(c)(1)(A)(ii), did not provide authority to reduce the amount of a restitution obligation to match the value of a negotiated settlement with the victim in civil proceedings. Consequently, the district court did not have authority to grant defendant's request to deem the restitution obligation discharged if he paid the negotiated settlement. The district court, however, did not foreclose defendant from seeking relief under section 3664(j)(2)(B) upon a proper showing, and neither did the court. View "United States v. Whitbeck" on Justia Law