United States v. Bahel, No. 08-3327 (2d Cir. October 26, 2011) (Pooler, Raggi, CJJ, Korman, DJ)
Sanjaya Bahel, a chief procurement officer at the United Nations, was convicted of honest services fraud and bribery offenses in connection with a kickback scheme in which he improperly steered lucrative U.N. procurement contracts to a friend, in exchange for money. This long opinion covers a lot of very fact-specific issues. This post focuses only on the sentencing claim.
Both U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1 and U.S.S.G. § 2C1.1 can apply to fraud convictions. The difference is that § 2C1.1 applies to specifically to “public officials” and carries a higher base offense level. The district court sentenced Bahel under § 2C1.1, over objection; on appeal, and the circuit rejected his claim that the court should have used § 2B1.1.
Under the relevant definition, which is to be “construed broadly,” Bahel was a “public official.” That he …