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