Monday, October 17, 2011

United States v. Gilchrist: Federal Embezzlement and Bank Fraud

In United States v. Gilchrist, Dwight Gilchrist filed a civil law suit against Wells Fargo Bank after they refused to recover the amount of money that was supposedly stolen from his bank account. Failure to cooperate with Wells Fargo’s investigation on his fraud claim reports prompted a FBI investigation on Gilchrist and his bank accounts. This revealed he was involved in federal embezzlement and bank fraud. He pleaded guilty to those charges and was also sentenced for “obstruction of justice” because he committed perjury during his depositions in his civil law shit against Wells Fargo Bank.

On appeal, Gilchrist believed the district court erred in applying the sentence enhancement for willfully obstructing justice. He argued he was unaware that he was under a federal investigation at the time he committed perjury during his civil law suit against Wells Fargo Bank. 

The court disagreed with his contention and affirmed judgment. In Gilchrist, the Ninth Circuit agrees that “willful means only that the defendant has engaged in intentional or deliberate acts designed to obstruct any potential investigation, at the time an investigation was in fact pending; it does not mean the defendant had to know for certain that the investigation was pending.” 

-This case is: United States v. Gilchrist (9th Cir. October 3, 2011) WL4537789

Monday, October 10, 2011

State Court Plea Used in Federal Court Proceedings

Federal Court proceedings indicted Richard Aguirre for racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics after he pleaded guilty in state court to one count of maintaining a residence for purposes of selling cocaine in People v. Aguirre. Unaware that his guilty plea would be used in Federal Court, Aguirre appealed and entered a motion to withdraw his plea.

During his appeal, Aguirre stated that his plea was not “knowing, intelligent, and voluntary” because he was unaware that it might be used against him in a federal prosecution. He felt the trial court was obligated to tell him about the federal jury proceedings and that the federal indictment was a direct consequence from his plea in state court.

The Second Appellate District affirmed judgment on Aguirre’s case. They were not convinced with Aguirre’s contentions and held that the trial court does not have to advise the defendant that his plea might be used in a federal prosecution. In addition, Aguirre’s argument regarding his lack of knowledge about the federal jury was not sufficient enough for the court to grant him his motion to withdraw his plea.

-California Court of Appeals, 2nd Appellate District, 2nd Div., September 26, 2011; B227019