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United States v. Fagan

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

June 30, 1987

No. 86-2284

Opinion

 [*1004]  GARWOOD, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-appellant Ralph Fagan was convicted of aiding and abetting on nine counts of mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1341, one count of witness intimidation, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(a), and one count of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 875(b). The district court imposed concurrent two-year sentences on each count. We affirm.

 [*1005]  Facts and Proceedings Below 

A. The Mail Fraud 

Ralph Fagan owned two Louisiana corporations -- Toddell Enterprises, Inc. and Fagan Boat Service, Inc. -- engaged in leasing work boats (used to transport heavy equipment to offshore drilling platforms) and crew boats (smaller boats used for ferrying crews and supplies) to offshore drilling companies. Sometime late in 1980 or early in 1981, Fagan was introduced to Donald L. Riley, who at that time was drilling superintendent of Texoma Production Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mid-Continent Petroleum. As drilling superintendent Riley made the [**2]  initial choice of the companies from which to lease boats for a given drilling project. The drilling superintendent sent his selection for approval to the manager of drilling; from there the recommendation went to Texoma's vice president for drilling and production, and finally the recommendation was sent to Texoma's president.

Apparently, Riley leased some boats from Fagan's companies shortly after their first meeting. Soon thereafter, Riley was promoted to manager of drilling. He hired Jeffrey Reid Hughes to fill his former job as drilling superintendent.

Sometime in the first half of 1981, Fagan and Riley -- who was by then the manager of drilling -- agreed to a kickback scheme. Fagan would pay Riley $ 100 a day for each boat that Texoma leased from Fagan's companies. Beginning in August 1981 and continuing until May 1983, Fagan or his companies paid Riley about $ 165,000 in twelve checks made payable to C & D Consultants, Inc., a corporation created by Riley at least partially to hide the kickbacks from Texoma. All the checks were mailed from Larose, Louisiana, a town not too far from New Orleans, in the Eastern District of Louisiana, to Spring, Texas, a town near Houston, in the Southern District of Texas.

When the scheme [**3]  had been in place just a short time, Riley told Hughes about it and urged him to set up a dummy company so he could receive part of the kickbacks Fagan was paying to Riley. Hughes agreed, and Riley split his kickbacks with Hughes on four occasions, but stopped doing so without explanation, even though Riley continued receiving kickbacks from Fagan.

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821 F.2d 1002 *; 1987 U.S. App. LEXIS 9576 **

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ralph G. Fagan, Defendant-Appellant

Prior History:  [**1]  Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

CORE TERMS

counts, kickbacks, mail fraud, conversation, lease, district court, boats, kickback scheme, drilling, telephone, mails, intimidation, convicted, defrauded, charges, threats, induced, checks, phone, sever, threat of violence, scheme to defraud, interstate, detriment, procured, supplier, asserts, evening, joinder, rental

Civil Procedure, Parties, Joinder of Parties, General Overview, Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Accusatory Instruments, Joinder & Severance, Joinder of Defendants, Joinder of Offenses, Harmless & Invited Error, Pleading & Practice, Joinder of Claims & Remedies, Joinder of Claims, Abuse of Discretion, Defective Joinder & Severance, Severance of Offenses, Judicial Officers, Judges, Discretionary Powers, Appeals, Reversible Error, Jurisdiction & Venue, Venue, Fraud Against the Government, Mail Fraud, Elements, Evidence, Types of Evidence, Documentary Evidence, Best Evidence Rule, Governments, Fiduciaries, Labor & Employment Law, Employment Relationships, Fiduciary Responsibilities, Business & Corporate Law, Causes of Action & Remedies, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Authority to Act, Business Transactions, Debt Collection, Agency Relationships, Duties & Liabilities, Unlawful Acts of Agents, Accessories, Aiding & Abetting, Obstruction of Administration of Justice, Witness Tampering, Crimes Against Persons, Coercion & Harassment, Criminal Offenses, Miscellaneous Offenses, Reviewability, Waiver, Admission of Evidence, Preservation for Review, Plain Error