Archive | role adjustment

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Rook and Role

United States v. Skys, No. 09-5204-cr (2d Cir. February 23, 2011) (Jacobs, Kearse, Straub, CJJ)

In August of 2007, Eric Skys approached Citigroup and claimed that his company, Kaiser-Himmel Corp., owned 13.4 million shares of Sprint Nextel Corp. stock, with a market value of approximately $240 million. He told Citigroup that transfer of the shares was restricted for another fourteen months, but that he wanted to raise immediate cash by pledging the shares to Citigroup in exchange for an $83 million dollar loan. Citigroup’s due diligence revealed that Skys’ claims were false and that the documents he had presented were forgeries. Skys approached three other financial institutions with the same scheme, again without success. He ultimately pled guilty to securities, wire and bank fraud.

At sentencing, his presentence report described additional, albeit uncharged, fraudulent conduct. Skys solicited investments in a fake software company and also cheated a Florida dentist out …

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Categories: role adjustment, Uncategorized, victim enhancement

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Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Role Away

United States v. Labbe, No. 08-0673-cr (2d Cir. December 4, 2009) (Newman, Pooler, Katzmann, CJJ)

About a week before Labbe’s sentencing, the district court issued a written Sentencing Opinion describing the sentence it was likely to impose. The Opinion included a 4-level role reduction for Labbe’s “minimal” participation and announced that “Labbe is hereby sentenced to … 57 months.” The Opinion noted, however, that this was “subject to modification at the sentencing hearing.”

Before sentencing, the government sent a letter to the court objecting to the role reduction, but at the sentencing hearing itself the defense focused its arguments primarily on the loss calculations, apparently assuming that the judge had decided to keep the role reduction. The judge asked the government a few questions about the relative participation levels of Labbe and his co-conspirators, then announced that the “government’s argument and its reading of the guidelines with respect to the …

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Categories: role adjustment, sentencing findings, Uncategorized

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Friday, August 28th, 2009

On a Role

United States v. Ware, No. 07-5222-cr (2d Cir. August 18, 2009) (Kearse, Sack, Hall, CJJ)

For five months in 2001 and 2002, Ware, an attorney, ran a “pump and dump” scheme, in which entities he controlled issued fraudulent, and supposedly independent, press releases promoting two penny stocks that he owned. When other investors acted on the false releases, the stocks went up and Ware sold his shares, earning a profit of more than $200,000. He was convicted of securities and wire fraud offenses, and the district court sentenced him to 97 months’ imprisonment.

On appeal, he represented himself pro se, raising a host of trial and sentencing issues. In this long opinion, which covers little real new ground, the court affirmed the conviction, but remanded for further sentencing findings on a leadership role enhancement.

The trial evidence revealed that Ware had three associates in the scheme: Jones and Epps, two …

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Categories: role adjustment, Uncategorized

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Gambling Problem

United States v. Ivezaj, No. 06-3112-cr (2d Cir. June 11, 2009) (Feinberg, Miner, Parker, CJJ)

Six defendants were convicted of racketeering and related offenses arising from their efforts to break the hold that New York City’s traditional organized crime families had on illegal gambling.

The primary challenge on appeal concerned two RICO predicate acts that alleged violations of New York state’s extortion statute. In New York, extortion involves compelling another person to “deliver … property” to himself or a third person through fear of a future injury. “Property” is any personal property or “article, substance or thing of value … which is provided for a charge or compensation.” The defendants argued that control over illegal intangible property such as a gambling operation was not “property” and could not be “delivered.”

The circuit disagreed. Surveying New York case law, the court first concluded that the state recognizes that intangible property – …

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Categories: extortion, racketeering, role adjustment, Uncategorized

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