United States v. Sprysak, No. 07-3353-cr (2c Cir. October 22, 2008) (Newman, Calabresi, Parker, CJJ)
Adam Potocki was convicted of conspiracy to sell stolen property, a Stradivarius violin that was later determined to be fake. The court of appeals held that the evidence was insufficient on two elements: whether Potocki believed the violin was worth at least five thousand dollars, and whether the offense involved goods that moved in interstate commerce.
Potocki was an associate of Krzysztof Sprysak, who was part of a Brooklyn criminal gang known as the “Greenpoint Crew.” Sprysak called Potocki in December of 2005 to tell him that he might have a Stradivarius violin to sell. He said that the violin had been brought from Europe illegally and was stolen. Potocki agreed to show an antiques dealer a picture of the violin so that it could be appraised, and said that the dealer might be …