Archive | restitution

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Payoff Games

United States v. Kalish, No. 08-3374-cr (2d Cir. November 24, 2010) (Newman, Winter, Lynch, CJJ)

Defendant Kalish was convicted of mail and wire fraud in connection with an advance loan fee scheme. The district court ordered him to pay $ 1.2 million in restitution, and also ordered a $ 3.9 million forfeiture.

On appeal, Kalish claimed that the district court should have reduced the forfeiture amount by the amount of the restitution order. The circuit affirmed, finding that the claim was premature. There is no error in imposing both a forfeiture order and a restitution order, since each is authorized by a separate statute.

However, once “some payment has been made by way of restitution, a defendant would be in a position to argue that such a payment should be a credit against any then remaining forfeiture amount.” Since the forfeiture amount represents “ill-gotten gains,” it is “at least arguable” …


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Categories: forfeiture, restitution, Uncategorized

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Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Payment Plan Available

United States v. Kyles, No. 06-4196-cr (2d Cir. April 2, 2010) (Miner, Katzmann, Raggi, CJJ)

In 1993, defendant Kyles received a long bank robbery sentence, along with a $4,133 restitution order. The court did not set a payment schedule, and instead (illegally) delegated that task to the Probation Department, which never acted. In 1998, the district court amended the restitution order by directing that Kyles pay $2 per month while incarcerated. Kyles did not appeal that order.

In 2006, the district court amended the order again, this time raising the monthly payments from $2 to $25. After much back-and-forth over whether the district court had authority to order this and Kyles’ ability to pay, the court amended the order again, this time specifying that Kyles’ payments should be “increased in accordance with the guidelines of the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program.”

Kyles appealed, arguing that the district court lacked the authority …


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Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The Boss From Hell

United States v. Sabhnani, No. 08-3720-cr (2d Cir. March 25, 2010) (Wesley, Livingston, CJJ, Restani, JCIT)

The defendants, husband and wife, were convicted of forced labor, harboring aliens, peonage and document servitude, both substantive and conspiracy. The wife received an eleven-year sentence, while the husband was sentenced to forty months. The court also imposed fines and restitution and ordered the forfeiture of their home. The defendants raised several issues on appeal, not all of which are summarized here, but won relief only on a restitution issue.

Background

The facts of this case are quite disturbing. The defendants lived very comfortably, along with their children, in a large house on Long Island from which the husband ran a successful export business. Beginning in 2002, with the help of the wife’s mother, the defendants brought two women to the United States from Indonesia to serve as household servants. Their treatment of the …


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Categories: restitution, Uncategorized, vulnerable victim

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

You Can’t Bet On It

United States v. Battista, No. 08-3750-cr (2d Cir. August 6, 2009) (Walker, Wesley, Wallace, CJJ)

James Battista was part of an illegal NBA gambling operation. He pled guilty to conspiring to transmit wagering information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1084, and his sentence included restitution to the NBA. On appeal he unsuccessfully challenged this order.

Background

The gambling scheme began with a corrupt NBA referee, who would transmit “picks” through an intermediary to Battista, who would then place bets on those games. Battista paid the ref a fee for each game where the ref picked the winner. The ref and the intermediary each pled guilty to wire fraud, while Battista pled guilty to the wagering conspiracy. At sentencing, the district court ordered the three defendants to pay more than $ 200,000 in restitution to the NBA.

The Appeal

On appeal, Battista argued that the NBA was not …


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Friday, July 10th, 2009

Back to the Future

United States v. Pearson, No. 07-0142-cr (2d Cir. July 2, 2009) (Miner, Katzmann, Raggi, CJJ) (per curiam)

Title 18, U.S.C. § 2259 provides that, in sex abuse cases, restitution is mandatory for the full amount of any loss to the victim, including the costs of medical or psychiatric care. Here, in a case of first impression in the circuit, the court held that this section includes restitution for estimated future expenses.

In this case, then, the district court properly ordered such future restitution. The circuit sent the case back anyway, however, because the district court, which arrived at a figure of nearly $ 1 million – the victims were two young girls – did not adequately explain how it arrived at the figure it selected.

The court also held that the issue survived the appellate waiver in Pearson’s plea agreement. With respect to restitution, the agreement merely stipulated that Pearson …


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Friday, February 6th, 2009

Cashed and Burned

United States v. Varrone, No. 07-4533-cr (2d Cir. January 30, 2009) (Calabresi, Sotomayor, Parker, CJJ)

Joseph A. Castello ran a check cashing business. He cashed more than $200 million in checks that exceeded $10,000 – charging a four percent check-cashing fee – for which he was obligated to file currency transaction reports (CTR’s). He did not, however, and was convicted by a jury of violating 31 U.S.C. §§ 5313 and 5322(a). On appeal, he challenged a restitution order, and claimed that the forfeiture order violated the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. The circuit vacated.

The Restitution Order

The restitution order involved a fraud victim, who was induced to send a $300,00 check to a bogus financial firm. This had nothing at all to do with Castello, except that the firm cashed the check at his establishment. When the victim contacted Castello, he falsely represented that he was an …


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Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Materia Girls

United States v. Ojeikere, No. 07-1970-cr (2d Cir. October 7, 2008) (Newman, Winter, Calabresi, CJJ)

Defendant Ojeikere was convicted of participating in an “advance fee” scheme the tricked its victims into sending money to the defendant and his confederates to release “large sums of money supposedly held in Nigeria.”

On appeal, he challenged the restitution order, which was nearly $700,000. He claimed that his “victims,” although they suffered losses, had hands too dirty to claim restitution, since they all participated in what they believed was a fraudulent scheme to obtain money from Nigeria. The court agreed with Ojeikere in principle only – restitution is not appropriate where the victims are, in effect, co-conspirators.

But restitution “may not be denied simply because the victim had greedy or dishonest motives.” It should only be denied where the victims’ intentions were in pari materia with those of the defendant. Because Ojeikere did not …


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Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Feetotalers

United States v. Amato, No. 06-5600-cr (2d Cir. August 21, 2008) (Cardamone, Miner, Pooler, CJJ)

The defendants were the principals of a consulting firm that was purchased by EDS, a much larger company. Their compensation included an incentive plan that promised large bonuses if they helped their clients, financial services firms, avoid losses caused by escheatments. The defendants never met their goals, but devised a successful scheme to deceive EDS into believing that they had.

After a jury trial, the court sentenced both defendants to prison, then conducted a restitution hearing and concluded that they owed $12.8 million in restitution to EDS. This figure included more than $3 million in attorney and accountant fees that EDS had incurred as a result of its participation in the prosecution.

On appeal of this part of the restitution order, the circuit affirmed. It noted that the statute at issue, 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(b)(4) …


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