Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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Lunn was convicted of five counts of bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1344, based on his operation of a Chicago investment advisory firm that advised mostly high-net-worth clients. The charges arose from Lunn’s conduct surrounding three extensions of credit by Leaders Bank, in which Lunn had invested: a line of credit he obtained for himself; a loan that Lunn arranged for former Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen; and a loan that Lunn arranged for Geras, a Lunn Partners client. Lunn provided false financial information with respect to his own loan; misled Pippen about the nature of the transaction and forged Pippen’s name; and forged Geras’s signature. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the convictions, rejecting Lunn’s claims that the court’s multiple intrusions into his testimony were so serious that he did not receive a fair trial and that the court erred in refusing to give a “good faith” instruction. The court instructed the jury that the government was required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Lunn “knowingly executed” a scheme to defraud “with the intent to defraud.” A good faith instruction was unnecessary. View "United States v. Lunn" on Justia Law

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Reed operated companies that he claimed would make loans of $50 million to $1 billion to entrepreneurs. Reed charged advance fees of $10,000 to $50,000 to apply for these loans. Reed’s companies actually had no funds to lend. Reed and his co‐defendants took in $200,000 from six clients, but never closed a loan. Reed was indicted for wire fraud. On the fourth day of trial, Reed’s lawyer told the court that Reed wanted to enter a “blind” guilty plea. The judge placed Reed under oath, explained his rights, and discussed his understanding of the consequences of pleading guilty, before accepting the plea. Four months later, before sentencing, Reed moved to substitute attorneys. His new attorney moved to withdraw the plea, arguing that Reed’s attorney’s ineffective representation had coerced Reed to plead guilty. The court denied the motion. Reed sought a below‐guidelines sentence of probation, emphasizing that his wife (who has a disabling illness) and three children (one of whom is also disabled) depend on him for financial and other support. The Guidelines range was 57-71 months incarceration. The district judge sentenced Reed to 64 months in prison. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding Reed’s allegations of ineffective assistance vague. The district judge adequately considered Reed’s claims of family hardship. View "United States v. Reed" on Justia Law

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Between 2003 and 2011, Jackson operated three Cicero, Illinois daycares in succession, housed in a building next to the Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple where he served as pastor. Subsidies from the State of Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program largely funded the daycares. CCAP subsidies are paid directly to the childcare provider. Jackson and his wife, Faria, submitted or directed the submission of dozens of CCAP applications, employment verification letters, redetermination forms, and monthly childcare certificate reports that contained materially false information. The state paid over $2.28 million in subsidies to Jackson’s daycares. A jury convicted Jackson and Faria of mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1341; wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343, and making a false statement, 18 U.S.C. 1001 for his role in the scheme. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Faria was not unduly prejudiced by the joint trial or by the jury seeing a redacted copy of the indictment. View "United States v. Jackson" on Justia Law