Justia Construction Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in White Collar Crime
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For more than 20 years, Kurlemann built and sold luxury homes in Ohio. In 2005-2006 he borrowed $2.4 million to build houses in Mason. When neither sold, he enlisted realtor Duke, who found two straw buyers, willing to lie about their income and assets on loan applications that Duke submitted to Washington Mutual. Both buyers defaulted. Duke pled guilty to seven counts, including loan fraud and making false statements to a lending institution, and agreed to testify at Kurlemann’s trial. A jury convicted Kurlemann of six counts, including making false statements to a lending institution, 18 U.S.C. 1014; and bankruptcy fraud, 18 U.S.C. 157. The district court sentenced Kurlemann to concurrent 24-month sentences and ordered him to pay $1.1 million in restitution. The district court sentenced Duke to 60 months. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy fraud conviction, based on Kurlemann’s concealment of his interest in property, but reversed and remanded his false statements conviction, finding that the trial court improperly instructed the jury that concealment was sufficient to support conviction. The court also reversed Duke’s sentence, finding that the court failed to explain the sentence it imposed. View "United States v. Kurlemann" on Justia Law

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Stoerr pled guilty to bid rigging, 15 U.S.C. 1; conspiracy to provide kickbacks and to defraud the United States, 18 U.S.C. 371; and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2). The convictions stemmed from kickback payments that Stoerr solicited and accepted from sub-contractors in connection with environmental remediation projects managed by Sevenson, his employer from 1980 to October 2003. In total, the district court determined that the scheme resulted in losses of $134,098.96 to the EPA and $257,129.22 to Tierra. After Sevenson learned of the kickbacks scheme, it paid Tierra approximately $241,000 to compensate for its losses. It then commenced a civil action against Stoerr in state court to recover its losses, and sought restitution in connection with Stoerr’s sentencing, under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. 3663A, for reimbursement of the amount that it paid to Tierra. The district court denied Sevenson‟s request for restitution, instead ordering that Stoerr pay restitution to Tierra. The Third Circuit dismissed; as a non-party, Sevenson lacks standing to appeal. View "United States v. Stoerr" on Justia Law

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Defendants were employees of subcontractor that provided concrete for Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel project, the "Big Dig." The government charged that over nine years, the company knowingly provided concrete that failed to meet project specifications and concealed that failure by creating false documentation purporting to show that the concrete provided complied with specifications. Several employees, including defendants, were convicted of mail fraud, highway project fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the government. The district court calculated the guidelines sentencing range as 87- to 108-months incarceration, then sentenced defendants to six months of home monitoring, three years of probation, and 1,000 hours of community service. The First Circuit affirmed. The district court's explanation ultimately supports the reasonableness of the sentences, based on its finding that the loss amount caused by the crimes, the most significant factor in determining the GSR, was imprecise and did not fairly reflect the defendants' culpability. The court also found that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the defendants' conduct made the Big Dig unsafe in any way or that the defendants profited from the offenses and considered personal circumstances. View "United States v. Stevenson" on Justia Law

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Andrews was designated as contractor for improvements to the sewage system, in a no-bid process involving kickbacks and bribery, having made numerous false statements in the bond application package. After the contract was terminated, he submitted a claim of $748,304, based on false statements and duplicate charges. Evidence indicated that Andrews was not capable of the project work and that the entire scheme was fraudulent. He was convicted of one count of conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. 371, four counts of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343, 1346, and 2, one count of program fraud, 18 U.S.C. 666(a)(1)(B) and 2, one count of making a false claim upon the Government of the Virgin Islands, 14 V.I.C. 843(4), and one count of inducing a conflict of interest, 3 V.I.C. 1102, 1103, and 1107. The Third Circuit affirmed the conviction, but remanded for resentencing. Errors in the indictment and jury instructions concerning honest services fraud did not affect substantial rights. Although the 151-month term of imprisonment was within the statutory maximum for Counts Two through Five, it exceeded the statutory maximum for Counts One and Six; it was not possible to determine whether the sentence was legal as to each count View "United States v. Andrew" on Justia Law