Law School Case Brief
United States v. Vigneau - 187 F.3d 70 (1st Cir. 1999)
Fed. R. Evid. 803(6) does not embrace statements contained within a business record that were made by one who is not a part of the business if the embraced statements are offered for their truth.
Patrick Vigneau and Richard Crandall conducted a venture to acquire marijuana and steroids in the Southwest and resell them in the Northeastern United States. Crandall obtained the marijuana and steroids from suppliers in El Paso, Texas, and in Mexico, and sent the drugs to Patrick Vigneau in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Some of the proceeds from these Northeastern sales had to be sent to Crandall in Texas so that he could pay suppliers and share in the profits. Patrick Vigneau transmitted funds to Crandall primarily through Western Union money orders. Subsequently, Patrick Vigneau was charged with participation in a continuing criminal enterprise, various marijuana offenses, two conspiracies to distribute drugs, and to launder the proceeds, and numerous individual money laundering counts. At trial, the government relied on the testimony of over 20 witnesses and on physical evidence, including seized drugs, a videotape, and Western Union money transfer records, among many others. The jury convicted Patrick Vigneau of participating in a continuing criminal enterprise, possession of marijuana and attempted possession of marijuana (both with intent to distribute) and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. On appeal, Patrick Vigneau asserted that the district court erred in allowing the government to introduce, without redaction and for all purposes, Western Union “To Send Money” forms, primarily in support of the money laundering charges. According to Patrick Vigneau, his name, address and telephone number on the “To Send Money” forms were inadmissible hearsay used to identify him as the sender.
Were Patrick Vigneau’s name, address, and telephone number on the “To Send Money” forms inadmissible hearsay, thereby warranting the reversal of his conviction for money laundering?
The appellate court set aside appellant's money laundering convictions but affirmed his remaining convictions surrounding the drug distribution scheme. According to the court, money wire service forms were improperly admitted under Fed. R. Evid. 803(6) as the statements contained in the forms were not made by a person related to the wire business but rather were statements made by an outsider and it was not established that the forms contained admissions by appellant.
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