Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals vacating the trial court's decision ordering Defendant, who pleaded guilty to cashing seven forged checks at branches of three different banks, to pay restitution to the banks in the amount of the forged checks, holding that a bank that cashes a forged check and then recredits the depositor's account is a victim to which the forger can be required to pay restitution.In reversing the trial court's judgment, the court of appeals determined that the banks were not "victims" for purposes of Ohio Rev. Code 2929.18, the statute authorizing a trial court to order an offender to pay restitution to a "victim" who suffers an economic loss, but were instead third parties who had reimbursed the account holders, who were the true victims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the banks were victims of Defendant's fraud that suffered an economic loss thereby, and therefore, the trial court properly ordered Defendant to pay restitution to the banks under section 2929.18. View "State v. Allen" on Justia Law

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Adrian established Red Brick Properties, to purchase, rehabilitate, and resell homes. Adrian's wife, Daniela, the only employee with a real estate license, served as office manager. They sought buyers who did not have good enough credit or a down payment and assisted them in applying for mortgage loans. In 2007-2009, Red Brick sold 45 houses, providing the down payment for each sale; the loan applications falsely stated that the buyers were using their own money. After closing, Red Brick provided the buyers with additional money, to ensure that they could make at least two payments before defaulting. Bank of America which provided the loans for 32 sales, all processed by one loan officer, opened an investigation. A jury convicted Adrian and Daniela of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343 and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1349. Following a remand, the PSR recommended a total loss amount of $1,835,861; the court sentenced Adrian to 36 months’ imprisonment, Daniela to 21 months’ (both sentences were below the Guidelines range), and imposed a $30,000 fine on each. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the intended loss calculation under U.S.S.G. 2B1.1, and the decision to deny Daniela a minor-role reduction under U.S.S.G. 3B1.2. Bank of America’s losses qualified as an “intended loss” regardless of its level of complicity. View "United States v. Tartareanu" on Justia Law

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In the underlying operative complaint, plaintiff Dalia Rojas pleaded two causes of action against defendants HSBC Card Services Inc. and HSBC Technology & Services (USA) Inc. (together HSBC) based on HSBC's alleged violations of Rojas's right to privacy under the California Invasion of Privacy Act (Privacy Act). Rojas alleged that HSBC intentionally recorded certain of her confidential telephone conversations in violation of: section 632(a), which prohibited one party to a telephone call from intentionally recording a confidential communication without the knowledge or consent of the other party; and section 632.7(a), which prohibited the intentional recording of a communication using a cellular or cordless telephone. Rojas appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of HSBC. The Court of Appeal agreed with Rojas that, because HSBC did not meet its initial burden under Code of Civil Procedure section 437c (p)(2), the trial court erred in granting HSBC's motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, that judgment was reversed and the matter was remanded with directions to enter an order denying HSBC's motion. View "Rojas v. HSBC Card Services" on Justia Law

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HSBC and the government appealed the district court's grant of a motion by a member of the public to unseal the Monitor's Report in a case involving a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with HSBC. The Second Circuit held that the Monitor's Report is not a judicial document because it is not relevant to the performance of the judicial function. By sua sponte invoking its supervisory power at the outset of this case to oversee the government's entry into and implementation of the DPA, the court explained that the district court impermissibly encroached on the Executive's constitutional mandate to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Furthermore, even assuming arguendo that a district court could revoke a speedy trial waiver were it to later come to question the bona fides of a DPA, the presumption of regularity precludes a district court from engaging in the sort of proactive and preemptive monitoring of the prosecution undertaken here. View "United States v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A." on Justia Law

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Appellants, the majority shareholder of Banca Privada d'Andorra S.A., filed suit claiming that FinCEN violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by issuing a Notice of Finding and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to cut off the Bank's ties to the United States' financial system. While the case was pending, FinCEN withdrew both Notices and the district court subsequently granted FinCEN's motion to dismiss on mootness grounds. The DC Circuit held that the case should be dismissed, but for different reasons than the district court. The DC Circuit explained that when FinCEN withdrew the Notices, appellants received full relief on their first claim. Therefore, the first claim of relief was moot. As for appellants' second claim, they no longer have standing to press this claim, because appellants have not met their burden of demonstrating that they still had standing to seek a declaratory order that the Notices were unlawful. Furthermore, even assuming that appellants do have the requisite injury and causation to support standing, they failed to show that a judicial order would effectively redress their alleged injuries. View "Cierco v. Mnuchin" on Justia Law

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Simmerman began working at Shoreline Federal Credit Union in 1987 and became manager in 2006. She began embezzling money, by complex manipulation of ledgers, in 1998 and was discovered in 2014. She pled guilty to embezzling $1,528,000, 18 U.S.C. 657, and to structuring the deposits of the money she stole to evade the reporting requirements of 31 U.S.C. 5313(a), in violation of 31 U.S.C. 5324(a)(3) and (d)(1). The district court assessed Simmerman’s total offense level at 28, based on a base offense level of seven, a 16-level increase for a loss amount between $1 million and $2.5 million, a two-level increase for sophisticated means, four-level increase for jeopardizing the soundness of a financial institution, a two-level increase for abuse of a position of trust, and a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility and a timely plea. With a criminal history category of I, Simmerman’s guideline range was 78-97 months and she was sentenced to 78 months on Count 1 and 60 months on Count 2, to be served concurrently. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, upholding the imposition of enhancements for sophisticated means (U.S.S.G. 2B1.1(10)(C)); jeopardizing the soundness of a financial institution (U.S.S.G. 2B1.1(b)(16)(B)(i)); and abuse of a position of trust (U.S.S.G. 3B1.3). View "United States v. Simmerman" on Justia Law

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The defendants were indicted for committing and conspiring to commit wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343 & 1349, by extracting money from lenders (including Bank of America) that had financed the sale of defendants' Gary, Indiana properties. The defendants had represented that buyers of the properties were the source of the down payments; the defendants had actually given the buyers the money to enable them to make the down payments. They had also helped the buyers provide, in loan applications, false claims of creditworthiness. The judge ordered restitution of $893,015 to Bank of America. The Seventh Circuit remanded, directing the court to consider an alternative remedy. Restitution is questionable because Bank of America, though not a coconspirator, did not have clean hands. It ignored clear signs that the loans were “phony.” The court referred to a history of “shady” practices and characterized the Bank as “reckless.” The court acknowledged that the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act requires “mandatory restitution to victims,” 18 U.S.C. 3663A, for “an offense resulting in damage to or loss or destruction of property of a victim of the offense,” but stated that Bank of America was deliberately indifferent to the risk of losing its own money, because it intended to sell the mortgages and transfer the risk of loss to Fannie Mae for a profit. View "United States v. Tartareanu" on Justia Law

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Shaw used identifying numbers of Hsu's bank account in a scheme to transfer funds from that account to accounts at other institutions from which Shaw was able to obtain Hsu’s funds. Shaw was convicted under 18 U.S.C. 1344(1), which makes it a crime to “knowingly execut[e] a scheme . . . to defraud a financial institution.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed. A unanimous Supreme Court vacated and remanded for consideration of whether the district court improperly instructed the jury that a scheme to defraud a bank must be one to deceive the bank or deprive it of something of value, instead of one to deceive and deprive. The Court rejected Shaw’s other arguments. Subsection (1) of the statute covers schemes to deprive a bank of money in a customer’s account. The bank had property rights in Hsu’s deposits as a source of loans from which to earn profits or as a bailee. The statute requires neither a showing that the bank suffered ultimate financial loss nor a showing that the defendant intended to cause such loss. Shaw knew that the bank possessed Hsu’s account, Shaw made false statements to the bank, Shaw believed that those false statements would lead the bank to release from that account funds that ultimately, wrongfully ended up with Shaw. Shaw knew that he was entering into a scheme to defraud the bank even if he was not familiar with bank-related property law. Subsection (2), which criminalizes the use of “false or fraudulent pretenses” to obtain “property . . . under the custody or control of” a bank, does not exclude Shaw’s conduct from subsection (1). View "Shaw v. United States" on Justia Law

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Following his arrest for illegal drug activity, Petitioner was released on bond and withdrew all of the money contained in two bank accounts. Law enforcement traced the money to Petitioner’s sister’s bank account and seized the bank account. Less than ninety days after the conclusion of Petitioner’s criminal proceedings, the Department of Finance of Montgomery County filed a complaint petition for currency forfeiture as to the sister’s bank account. Petitioner’s sister argued that her bank account was not “money” under Maryland's forfeiture statute and that the complaint for forfeiture was untimely filed. The circuit court rejected that argument and ultimately found that the funds in the bank account constituted illegal drug proceeds. The court, therefore, granted forfeiture of the entire amount. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the funds contained in a bank account are “money” for purposes of the forfeiture statute; and (2) the forfeiting authority timely filed the complaint for forfeiture of the bank account within the deadline applicable to the filing of a complaint for forfeiture of money. View "Bottini v. Dep’t of Finance, Montgomery County" on Justia Law

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Ajayi, an electrical engineer, wanted to start a business selling MRI products in Africa. He incorporated GRI in Illinois and another company in Africa and sought investors. While traveling, he solicited a $45,000 investment from Brown. After returning home, Ajayi received a $344,657.84 check, payable to another company . He called Brown, who explained that the accounting department had made an error, told Ajayi to deposit the check, and stated that they would work out a way for Ajayi to refund the difference. Ajayi deposited the check through an ATM into his GRI account, which previously had a balance of $90.08, After the check cleared, Brown flew to Chicago and demanded repayment. Pursuant to Brown’s instructions, between December 9 and December 12, 2009, Ajayi wrote at least five checks to himself from the GRI account and cashed them. Ajayi was convicted of five counts of bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1344(1) and (2) and money laundering, 18 U.S.C. 1957(a) and was sentenced to 44 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit found that there was sufficient evidence that Ajayi knew that the check was altered and upheld the exclusion of the emails, but concluded that four bank fraud counts were multiplicitous. View "United States v. Ajayi" on Justia Law