Sunday, June 03, 2012

Fleeced Hampton

United States v. Litwok, No. 10-1985-cr (2d Cir. April 30, 2012) (Livingson, Lohier, CJJ, Koeltl, DJ)


An Eastern District jury convicted defendant Evelyn Litwok of one count of mail fraud, and three counts of tax evasion - for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997. The circuit found the evidence legally insufficient to support the conviction for the 1996 and 1997 tax evasions, and also found that the mail fraud and the 1995 tax evasion counts were improperly joined. The court remanded for a new trial on those counts.

Background

Litwok seems to have spent a good part of the mid-1990's involved in financial shenanigans in and around East Hampton. The mail fraud conviction arose from her involvement in a scheme to defraud an insurance company by making false claims for property damage and related losses at her two East Hampton homes. The tax evasion charges arose from private equity companies that she operated, also out of East Hampton, for the 1995, 1996 and 1997 tax years. Although she owed nearly $1.5 million in taxes, she failed to file a single tax return for those years.

The Tax Evasion Charges

In order to sustain a conviction for tax evasion, the government must prove: (1) the existence of a substantial tax debt; (2) a willful nonpayment, and; (3) an affirmative act performed by the defendant with the intent to evade or defeat the calculation or payment of the tax.

At issue here was only the third element. For one of the tax years at issue, 1995, the government established this element by showing that Litwok barred her accountant from taking  thesteps necessary to preparing and filing her tax return for that year.

But for 1996 and 1997, the government introduced no evidence at all on element three. It showed only that she failed to file her taxes for those years. At oral argument, the government came up with various arguments about how this element might have been established but, since it did not raise those claims either in the district court or in its brief, the circuit considered them forfeited. It reversed the judgment of conviction on the counts relating to those tax years.

Misjoinder

The court also remanded for a new trial on the mail fraud and 1995 tax evasion counts, concluding that they were misjoined. The government established no link between the insurance scam, which took place in 1997, and the unreported 1995 income.

The court also found prejudice in the misjoinder. The 1995 tax evasion count included evidence that Litwok cheated her investors out of millions of dollars for her personal gain, and caused the government to brand her "a cheat, a liar, and a thief." None of the tax fraud evidence would have been admissible at a trial only on the mail fraud, yet it "inevitably colored the jury’s view" of her role in that scheme. Moreover, the evidence against Litwok was not overwhelming, and the district court gave no limiting instructions.

Labels: , ,

3 Comments:

Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley sunglasses cheap, coach outlet store online, kate spade outlet, air max pas cher, louboutin outlet, louis vuitton outlet stores, longchamp handbags, christian louboutin shoes, prada outlet, burberry outlet, ray ban sunglasses, air max, coach factory outlet, tiffany and co, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, tory burch outlet, kate spade handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton handbags, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, louboutin, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, longchamp handbags, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike shoes, tiffany and co, coach outlet, true religion jeans, true religion jeans, nike free, air max, coach purses, air max, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, jordan shoes

October 28, 2014 at 1:56 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

abercrombie and fitch, nike roshe run, nike free pas cher, longchamp, mac cosmetics, hogan outlet, nike free, polo ralph lauren, sac burberry, michael kors pas cher, hollister, polo lacoste, nike tn, sac hermes, nike huarache, nike roshe, north face, sac longchamp, new balance pas cher, louis vuitton, vanessa bruno, longchamp, vans shoes, louis vuitton uk, air max, ray ban sunglasses, north face, nike blazer, nike roshe run, air jordan, sac guess, vans pas cher, barbour, oakley pas cher, nike air max, sac louis vuitton, lululemon, mulberry, michael kors, sac louis vuitton, ralph lauren, hollister, hollister, nike trainers, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, air force, converse pas cher, timberland, louboutin

October 28, 2014 at 1:56 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lululemon outlet, mont blanc, air max, nfl jerseys, rolex watches, beats by dre, moncler, new balance shoes, bottega veneta, ugg, ugg australia, hollister clothing store, giuseppe zanotti, wedding dresses, iphone 6 cases, canada goose, ugg boots, ghd, reebok outlet, ferragamo shoes, chi flat iron, moncler, north face jackets, soccer shoes, ugg boots, abercrombie and fitch, babyliss pro, baseball bats, valentino shoes, uggs outlet, ugg pas cher, insanity workout, instyler, moncler outlet, canada goose uk, north face outlet, moncler, canada goose, marc jacobs, canada goose, herve leger, asics running shoes, canada goose jackets, birkin bag, canada goose outlet, soccer jerseys, p90x, jimmy choo outlet, mcm handbags, celine handbags

October 28, 2014 at 1:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home