Archive | victim enhancement

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Radio Smack

United States v. Lacey, No. 11-2404-cr (2d Cir. November 7, 2012) (Winter, Straub, Lynch, CJJ)

Defendants Lacey and Henry were convicted after a jury trial of various offenses resulting from their involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme. In the scheme a real estate company, MTC,  would purchase “short-sale” properties from distressed homeowners, then resell them to straw buyers, who would obtain mortgages on the properties, without intending to live in them or make payments. MTC helped the straw buyers complete fraudulent mortgage applications to ensure that they would be approved, and sometimes made a few payments on the loans to further deceive the banks, but eventually the loans defaulted and the lending banks took title to the properties through foreclosure.

One component of the fraud involved radio ads, through which MTC recruited straw buyers. Those ads told buyers that they could earn a fee by buying a house through …

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Categories: mass-marketing, mortgage fraud, restitution, Uncategorized, victim enhancement

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Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Trace Amounts

United States v. Gonzalez, 10-2202-cr (2d Cir. July 22, 2011) (Kearse, Miner, Chin, CJJ)

Former state senator Efrain Gonzalez, Jr., pled guilty to various fraud-related charges in connection with two sham charities that he set up while in office. This opinion contains an interesting discussion of the concept of “tracing” criminal proceeds. In it, the court concludes that tracing is not required to determine the number of victims under § 2B1.1, but is required, to some degree at least, to calculate the actual loss for restitution purposes.

The case arose from the actions of two supposed charities, West Bronx Neighborhood Association (WBNA) and United Latin American Foundation (ULAF). Each received both public money and private donations, and each – although supposed to be engaged in charitable activities – instead spent most of its money enriching Gonzalez by paying his personal bills – and those of some of his cronies – …

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Categories: restitution, Uncategorized, victim enhancement

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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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