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United States v. Olorunfemi - 83 F. App'x 128 (7th Cir. 2003)

Rule:

Where a defendant engaged in a scheme with others, the sentencing court should calculate the loss for purposes of former U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 2F1.1(b) based not only on the defendant's own actions but all reasonably foreseeable acts and omissions of others in furtherance of the jointly undertaken activity.

Facts:

Defendant and two other men engaged in a scheme to steal and share identity information, open fraudulent credit card accounts, generate counterfeit credit card numbers and cards, and defraud banks. In calculating the total loss for sentencing purposes, the government attributed defendant with only those losses resulting from documented purchases made by the men and the people that they recruited. On appeal, defendant claimed that he should not have been found accountable for a bank fraud perpetrated by his coconspirators in another state because it was done without his knowledge.

Issue:

Should the defendant be held liable for a bank fraud perpetrated by his coconspirators in another state, notwithstanding his lack of knowledge about the said fraud?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Court affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that defendant conspired to commit bank fraud as part of the broader credit card and identity theft scheme and that the coconspirators opened bank accounts in the other state in furtherance of that fraudulent scheme. The Court held that, under former U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 2F1.1(b), a defendant need not have concrete knowledge of an accomplice's actions to be held accountable. The Court also held that the trial court did not err in finding that he was an organizer or leader of the conspiracy for purposes of U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 3B1.1(a).

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