Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Control Freak

United States v. Carlo, No. 06-2420-cr (2d Cir. November 19, 2007) (Kearse, Katzmann, CJJ, Rakoff, DJ)

This short per curiam opinion discusses the sufficiency of the evidence in a wire fraud prosecution, where the prosecution proceeded on an unusual theory. The defendant Carlo and others defrauded real estate developers by making misrepresentations about Carlo’s efforts to obtain funding for the developers’ projects. In response to the developers’ requests, Carlo falsely assured them that loans were imminent, when in fact they were not. Here, the government did not allege that Carlo defrauded the developers out of any specific money or property, but rather out of their right to control their own assets, which the court held was a permissible theory of fraud. Carlo’s deception harmed the developers by depriving them of material information necessary to determine whether to proceed with their development projects, and this continued or increased the risk that the projects would fail.

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