Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gain From Criminal Activity Not Proper Measure for Restitution

US v. Harvey: Harvey and his codefendant, Kronstein, were convicted by a jury of honest services wire fraud and bribery. The convictions arose from an arrangement by which Harvey, a civilian military employee, funnelled a no-bid contract to a company owned by Kronstein. Harvey and Kronstein also moved funds between themselves, using businesses and intermediaries (including their wives) as conduits. Harvey was sentenced to 72 months in prison, Kronstein to 70 months and ordered them, jointly and severally, to pay $383,621 in restitution.

They appealed both their convictions and sentences. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the convictions and prison terms, while vacating the restitution award.

As to the convictions, the court first concluded that the evidence was sufficient to convict Harvey and Kronstein of honest services wire fraud, rejecting the argument that the Government failed to show either that their scheme involved a material misrepresentation or concealment of fact or that they had the specific intent to defraud. The court also rejected the argument that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the bribery convictions, holding that there was sufficient evidence of corrupt intent in their dealings.

As to the sentences, the Fourth Circuit turned away factual challenges to Guideline enhancements for the amount of loss, the number of bribes involved, and Harvey's and Kronstein's roles in the offense.

As to the restitution, the court concluded that the Government had failed to prove the amount of actual loss attributable to the defendants, rather than intended loss (which was used in the Guideline calculations). Specifically, the court rejected the practice of using the profit gained from the criminal activity as a proxy for actual loss. Thus, the restitution award was vacated and remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

No comments: