Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Many Unhappy Returns

United States v. Cadet, No. 10-4220-cr (2d Cir. December 20, 2011) (Miner, Cabranes, Wesley, CJJ)

An Eastern District jury convicted Joseph Cadet of 16 tax offenses based on his preparation of dozens of false tax returns for his “clients” between 2003 and 2006. Although the court affirmed his conviction – he challenged only the admission of Rule 404(b) evidence, a perennial loser in this circuit – it vacated and remanded the sentence due to a host of sentencing errors.

First, the district court imposed a 41-month prison sentence and a three-year term of supervised release on each of the 16 counts of conviction. But the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for each violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2) was three years’ imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release.

The court also made several incorrect restitution rulings. First, the restitution order included losses sustained by New York City and State, but the district court did not make an “explicit finding” as to whether those entities were “proper victims entitled to restitution.” Second, the court erroneously failed to deduct from the restitution amount payments that the taxpayer-clients made to the IRS to settle outstanding tax assessments. And third, the district court erroneously included losses associated with an uncharged tax return.

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