Archive | intent

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Judge Engelmayer Issues a Significant 404(b) Opinion

Yesterday, Southern District Judge Paul Engelmayer issued a carefully reasoned and highly instructive opinion holding that a defendant’s prior drug offenses were inadmissible under Fed. R. Evid. 404(b) to prove his intent to distribute crack cocaine. The short opinion, available here, is a must-read.

The defendant in United States v. Robinson, 17-cr-249, is charged with one count of possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute. He concedes that he possessed an 18-gram rock of crack cocaine, but argues that the possession was for personal use. To rebut this argument, the government sought to introduce the defendant’s four prior, crack-related convictions. Judge Engelmayer determined, however, that these convictions were not sufficiently similar to the charged conduct to be admissible.

Rule 404(b)(1) provides that “[e]vidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person’s character in order to show that on a particular occasion the …

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Categories: drug distribution, intent, rule 404(b)

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Second Circuit: Conviction for Investment Adviser Fraud Requires Only Intent To Deceive, Not Intent To Harm

In United States v. Tagliaferri, No. 15–536, the Second Circuit held that a conviction for investment adviser fraud, under section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. § 80b–6 and 80b–17, requires only intent to deceive one’s clients, not intent to harm them as well.

Tagliaferri ran a boutique investment advisory firm where, the government alleged, he engaged in various deceptive practices, including taking kickbacks for investing client funds with particular entities, cross-trading between client accounts, and falsely characterizing investments as loans. The government charged Tagliaferri with, among other offenses, investment adviser fraud under section 206. At trial, Tagliaferri’s defense was that, despite his deceptive practices, he “always believed that he would be able to work things out so that his clients would not be harmed.” Accordingly, he sought a jury instruction that investment adviser fraud requires not only intent to deceive one’s clients, but …

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Categories: fraud, intent, Uncategorized

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Categories: fraud, intent, Uncategorized

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Saturday, November 17th, 2012

On Bank

United States v. Gyanbaah, No. 10-2441-cr (2d Cir. November 8, 2012) (Winter, Lynch, Carney, CJJ)

The appellant here was part of a group that, for more than three years, stole names and other identifying information, then used it to file thousands of fraudulent tax returns in those victims’ names. The group expected that about half of the refunds would be approved; having sought $2.2 million in refunds, they actually received more than $500,000. When they received a refund check, one of the fraudsters would forge the payee’s signature and endorse the check over to a group member, who would deposit the check into a controlled bank account and withdraw the money. 

Gyanbaah, the particular appellant here, was linked to deposits at three different banks and nearly seventy fraudulent tax returns.  A jury convicted him of five counts, including, in relevant part, one count of bank fraud and one …

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Categories: bank fraud, intent, sufficiency, Uncategorized

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Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Luggage Wreck

United States v. Leerdam, No. 07-1435-cr (2d Cir. July 18, 2008) (Jacobs, Straub, CJJ, Jones, DJ).

Here, the circuit reversed the convictions of two defendants, Andrea and Julio Lorenzo, who had been convicted in a drug importation and distribution conspiracy, finding that the evidence was legally insufficient.


In July 2005, Francisca Leerdam was recruited to smuggle drugs out of the Dominican Republic. She made three successful trips to the Netherlands, then, in September of 2005, made her first trip to the United States. Her handlers gave her a suitcase, some money, a plane ticket and instructions. She made it through customs at JFK, and eventually met a confederate who took her suitcase and gave her a different one. Later, in Queens, the confederate met up with and spoke to Julio. Leerdam met Andrea, who asked her how it went. Andrea and Julio then took her to a hotel and …

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Categories: intent, knowledge, sufficiency, Uncategorized

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Saturday, October 6th, 2007


United States v. Wilson, Docket No. 05-5985-cr (2d Cir. September 24, 2007) (Jacobs, Katzmann, Hall, CJJ) (per curiam)

This short decision disposes of a sufficiency claim that has not yet arisen in this Circuit relating to “stash house” prosecutions under 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(2).

Wilson shared two apartments with a drug dealer – the tools of his trade were in open view all over the place. She argued that the evidence was legally insufficient because the government did not prove that she herself intended that the premises would be used for an unlawful purpose.

The Circuit made short work of this. The phrase “for the purpose” in § 856(a)(2) refers to the purpose of the person who is permitted to engage in drug activity in the premise, and not she who permits him. By contrast, § 856 (a)(1) makes it a crime for the person controlling the premises to have …

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Categories: intent, purpose, stash house, sufficiency, Uncategorized

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