Monday, February 1, 2010
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in United States v. Treadwell, that affirmed convictions in a case involving a Ponzi scheme. The government said that Treadwell was the "mastermind" of this Ponzi scheme and the appellate court found that more than 1,700 investors lost their investment from this Ponzi scheme. Following a jury verdict, the defendants were sentenced with Treadwell getting 300 months imprisonment; Sluder received 188 months and Saturday 63 months. There were also other terms for each of these sentences. Defendants appealed their convictions and also contested their sentences. The defendants claimed that "intent to defraud" under the wire fraud statute requires an "intent to cause an actual loss." They also argued that there was a Sixth Amendment violation in that "their sentences cannot be upheld as 'substantively reasonable' under 18 USC 3553(a) without reliance on judge-found facts - such as the amount of loss caused by the fraud - in violation of their Sixth Amendment jury trial right." Defendant Treadwell also argued that it "was error for the district court to impose a two-point upward adjustment for misrepresentations that he was acting on behalf of a charitable organization;" and that "his sentence is substantively unreasonable under 18 USC 3553(a). The Ninth Circuit rejected the arguments of defendant and affirmed the conviction and sentence.
(esp)(w/ a hat tip to Linda Ramirez)