Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Goss, examined a sentence on a mortgage fraud case, affirming in part and vacating and remanding in part. The court noted how in cases "involving immovable real property, ... part, if not all, of the loan value was more likely recoverable," and actual loss should therefore be examined. The court noted that "to determine intended loss, actual, not constructive, intent is considered."The court further stated:
"Obviously, application of an actual-loss method in this instance does not necessarily mean that the full collateral value for each loan will be deducted in every instance. An inflexible, bright-line rule for all of the loans at issue does not ensure the victims’ financial losses will be accurately assessed; and, therefore, it is necessary to examine each loan individually in order to determine the fair market value of the loan’s collateral and whether it should be deducted.
This loan-by-loan inquiry will allow the district court to properly determine how to treat the collateral, for each loan at issue, in order to arrive at the most accurate assessment of the lenders’ losses. Needless to say, this loanby-loan inquiry is fact-intensive, and should be shaped by weighing the appropriate factors in determining, at the time of sentencing, what, in the event of a default, would be the fair market value of any recovered collateral. This inquiry is likely to touch upon many of the issues presented in earlier cases. In this instance, factors that may impact the likelihood of recovery, the fair market value of the property, or both, include: the collateral is immovable; whether third parties exercise control over the collateral; whether, in the event of default, the collateral is, or might be, damaged before recovery; whether the collateral’s value was appraised or assessed at the time of sentencing; and whether there are financial or practical risks inherently associated with the collateral. (Of course, this list is not exhaustive; and no one factor is controlling."
(esp) (w/ a hat tip to Evan Jenness)