Justia White Collar Crime Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343, 1346, and 2 (count seven) for participating in a fraudulent scheme to obtain tests and test scores from ACT, Inc., holding that the district court did not err.Defendant, along with fourteen other parents, was named in an indictment resulting from an investigation into alleged fraudulent schemes designed to secure the admission of the children of the defendants into national elite universities. Defendant was charged with several crimes stemming from his payment of $50,000 to have an ACT proctor change his son's test scores. Defendant moved to dismiss count seven on the grounds that ACT test scores do not constitute money or property under the wire fraud statute. The motion was denied, and Defendant conditionally pled guilty. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the property interest alleged in the indictment was the object of Defendant's fraud; and (2) Defendant's remaining arguments were either waived or without merit. View "United States v. McGlashan" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity and sentencing him to thirty years' imprisonment, holding that there was no error in the underlying sentence.Defendant pled guilty to participating in two fraud schemes - business email compromise and online romance. Defendant pled guilty to his convictions. The district court applied two enhancements to Defendant's sentence - one for the unauthorized use of a means of identification unlawfully to produce another means of identification and another for the substantial financial hardship caused to one victim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not clearly err or abuse its discretion in applying the sentencing enhancements. View "United States v. Iwuanyanwu" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the restitution order entered by the district court holding Defendant jointly and severally liable for all sums illicitly obtained by the charged conspiracy in this case, holding that the restitution order was not an abuse of the district court's discretion.Defendant, a lawyer formerly licensed in Florida, and his co-conspirators organized a scheme designed to defraud investors of millions of dollars. The conspirators convicted at least five people to invest substantially in the scheme. One of the victims eventually contacted authorities, and Defendant and his co-conspirators were charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Defendant pleaded guilty. The district court sentenced Defendant to twenty-nine months of immurement followed by supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $3,473,701. The First Circuit affirmed the restitution order, holding that where a defendant is convicted as a member of a wire-fraud conspiracy, a district court has discretion to order him to reimburse the victims of the scheme, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators, for all reasonably foreseeable losses created by the fraudulent scheme. View "United States v. Ochoa" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's sentence of twenty-four months' imprisonment imposed in connection with his plea of guilty to health care fraud, holding that the sentence was neither procedurally nor substantively unreasonable.Defendant pleaded guilty to health care fraud for his multiyear scheme to defraud MaineCare, a state-run program that administers Medicaid benefits in the state of Maine and reimburses Maine health care providers for MaineCare services. After a hearing, the court varied downward and imposed a sentence of twenty-four months' imprisonment. The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's sentence, holding (1) the district court did not err in its loss calculations or in imposing a four-level leader/organizer enhancement; and (2) Defendant's downward variant sentence satisfied the substantive reasonableness standard. View "United States v. Ahmed" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Appellant's plea of guilty to one count of investment adviser fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the proceedings below.On appeal, Appellant argued that her plea was not knowing and voluntary, that the evidence was insufficient to convict her of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, that several sentencing enhancements were improperly applied, and that her counsel was ineffective. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) there was no error in the district court's acceptance of Appellant's guilty plea; (2) Appellant's conduct clearly satisfied the statutory requirements for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft; and (3) Appellant's challenges to several aspects of her sentence were unavailing. View "United States v. Kitts" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendants' claims that their prosecutions ran afoul of the prohibition in a congressional appropriations rider against spending federal funds to prosecute criminal defendants for marijuana-related offenses, holding that there was no error.The appropriations rider at issue placed a practical limit on federal prosecutors' ability to enforce the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., with respect to certain conduct involving medical marijuana. Defendants - two individuals and three companies - were indicted for marijuana-related offenses. Defendants moved to enjoin their prosecutions pursuant to the appropriations rider. The district court denied the motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the appropriations rider did not bar the pending federal prosecution against Defendants. View "United States v. Bilodeau" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's conviction of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer and conspiring to do the same, holding that there was no error, plain or otherwise, in the proceedings below.Defendant committed a cyberattack against Boston Children's Hospital and Wayside Youth and Family Support Network causing both to lose their internet capabilities for several weeks. Defendant publicly admitted responsibility for the attacks. After an eight-day trial, Defendant was convicted for intentionally causing damage to a protected computer and conspiring to cause damage to a protected computer. The First Circuit affirmed (1) there was no violation of the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. 3161-3174; (2) the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to suppress; (3) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court's denial of the four motions to withdraw that were filed by Defendant's trial counsel; (4) the district court did not err in precluding Defendant from raising a defense-of-others argument at trial; and (5) the trial judge did not err in denying three recusal motions Defendant made pro se after the verdict but before sentencing. View "United States v. Gottesfeld" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendants' convictions connected with the murder of Steven DiSarro, holding that Defendants were not entitled to relief on their allegations of error.Defendants, Francis Salemme and Paul Weadick, were convicted of the 1993 murder of DiSarro. At the time of the murder, Salemme was the boss of a criminal organization known as the New England La Cosa Nostra. Defendants murdered DiSarro to prevent him from talking with federal agents about his activities with Salemme, Weadick and Salemme's son. On appeal, Defendants challenged the trial court's admission of a significant amount of evidence concerning the prior criminal activities of Salemme and several witnesses. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in admitting the evidence. View "United States v. Weadick" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed in full the verdicts of the jury convicting the five defendants in this case on charges brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1962(d) but vacated the restitution and forfeiture orders, holding that the jury's special findings and verdicts as to all defendants were affirmed.Defendants in this case were a group of pharmaceutical executives involved with Insys Therapeutics, Inc., which marketed and sold Subsys, a fentanyl-laced medication approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain. A jury found Defendants guilty of racketeering charges, and the court sentenced Defendants to prison terms of varying lengths. The First Circuit upheld the jury verdicts in full and affirmed the district court's denial of Defendants' various motions for judgments of acquittal and/or new trials but vacated the restitution and forfeiture orders, holding that the district court erred as to these orders. View "United States v. Simon" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit rejected the efforts of the two defendants in this consolidated appeal to retroactively vacate the forfeiture judgment against them, holding that neither defendant was entitled to relief on their claims of error.The defendants in this case were Donna Saccoccia and her brother, Vincent Hurley. Defendants were convicted for their role in a money laundering conspiracy controlled by Donna's husband, Stephen Saccoccia. In this appeal, Defendants appealed the district court's denial of Donna's petition for a writ of error coram nobis - a petition that Hurley sought to adopt - seeking vacate of a forfeiture judgment of approximately $136 million in proceeds from the conspiracy, arguing that the Supreme Court's decision in Honeycutt v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 1626 (2017), should be applied retroactively to invalidate the forfeiture judgments against them. The First Circuit denied relief, holding (1) Donna's efforts to apply Honeycutt retroactively were unavailing for the same grounds applicable to Stephen, whose same attempt this Court recently rejected; and (2) Hurley waived his argument on appeal. View "United States v. Saccoccia" on Justia Law