Law School Case Brief
United States v. Gerstein - 104 F.3d 973 (7th Cir. 1997)
The Sentencing Guidelines direct the sentencing judge to increase a defendant's offense level by four levels if the defendant was an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants or was otherwise extensive. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.1(a).
Defendant was convicted of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1344 and money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i). Defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that testimony of a government agent should not have been admitted and the resulting enhancement of his sentence was unwarranted. The court affirmed, holding that there was no error in admitting the agent's testimony because defendant failed to properly object to the introduction of the evidence at the sentencing hearing.
Is the increase of penalty under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.1(a). proper when it is merely based on an agent’s testimony that several persons knowingly participated in the fraudulent scheme?
The court affirmed the sentence because there was ample proof that more than enough persons knowingly participated in defendant's fraudulent scheme for application of the enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.1(a). The agent's admissible, reliable, and credible testimony provided ample support for the finding that several persons knowingly participated in the fraudulent scheme, more than enough for the enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.1(a) to apply.
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