Archive | joinder

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Circuit Affirms Convictions of Madoff Co-Conspirators

The Circuit issued no published criminal decisions today. But it did issue three summary orders, including a 30-page decision (does that still qualify as a “summary” order?) affirming the fraud-related convictions of five former employees of Bernie Madoff’s investment company.

  1. United States v. Bonventre, No. 14-4714-cr(L) (2d Cir. Apr. 20, 2016) (Walker, Raggi, and Droney)

Five former employee of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities were convicted after trial of multiple counts of conspiratorial and substantive securities fraud, bank fraud, and related charges for their participation in a massive scheme to defraud thousands of investors of tens of billions of dollars. On appeal, the defendants challenged various trial court rulings, the sufficiency of the evidence, the government’s trial conduct, and the judgments of forfeiture. The Court rejected all of their claims.

Bill of Particulars

First, the Court held that the district court did not err by denying a request for …

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Categories: evidence, forfeiture, government misconduct, joinder, sufficiency

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Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Re: Joinder

United States v. Page, No. 10-3150-cr (2d Cir. September 16, 2011) (Walker, Hall, Chin, CJJ)

Defendant was tried on five drug counts and a felon-in-possession count. In the district court, he moved to sever the gun count so that the jury considering the drug charges would not learn that he had a felony conviction. The court denied the motion and the circuit, finding no prejudice, affirmed.


In 2007 and 2008, Page was selling drugs – first crack, then heroin – in Norwich, Connecticut. During this time, he became involved in an altercation outside a bar, and brandished a gun; to avoid trouble, he stashed the gun at his girlfriend’s apartment. Agents raided the apartment the next day and found the gun and some drugs.

Page ultimately faced a six-count indictment; the first five counts alleged drug offenses – although the government ultimately dropped one of these – and count …

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Categories: bifurcation, joinder, severance, Uncategorized

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Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Government’s “Question[able],” “Troub[ling]” and “Disingenous” Conduct Results in an Affirmance. Huh?

United States v. Blech, No 05-3600-cr (2d Cir. April 23, 2008) (Sotomayor, Parker, Hall, CJJ).

Two defendants who were convicted of securities and related frauds appealed on the ground that their cases were misjoined, and one advanced a Brady claim. The court affirmed, but only out of apparent deference to the district court’s findings under the “abuse of discretion” standard.

The Severance Issue

This case went to trial on a thirteen-count indictment that alleged two separate fraud schemes. The first involved appellant Brandon, who, along with others, defrauded customers of Credit Bancorp of more than $200,000,000. The second scheme involved appellant Wexler, who also defrauded Credit Bancorp customers, but in a different way. The district court denied their severance motions, and both were convicted.

The defendants’ severance claim was unusually strong. Although the two schemes shared some participants, and both targeted Credit Bancorp customers, they were otherwise completely distinct. Nevertheless, …

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Categories: Brady, joinder, severance, Uncategorized

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Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Joint Pain

United States v. Shellef, No. 06-1495-cr (2d Cir. November 8, 2007) (Pooler, Sack, Wesley, CJJ)

In this decision applying Fed.R.Cr.P 8, the court held that counts were improperly joined against two separate defendants, and that the misjoinders were not harmless. The decision also has an interesting discussion of some unusual wire fraud theories.

Defendants Shellef and Rubenstein were tried together on tax and wire fraud charges. At the same trial, Shellef alone was tried on tax evasion charges relating to some of his personal and business dealings. Both were convicted of all counts.

The tax and mail fraud charges arose from the defendants’ efforts to purchase and resell CFC-113, a highly regulated, ozone-depleting industrial solvent upon which, Congress, in an effort to phase out its use, imposed an excise tax. However, the tax does not apply to CFC-113 reclaimed as part of a recycling process, or CFC-113 that is sold …

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Categories: fraud, joinder, Rule 8, severance, Uncategorized

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