Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. DeGeorge case brief

United States v. DeGeorge case brief summary
380 F.3d 1203 (9th Cir. 2004)

A jury for the United States District Court for the Central District of California found defendant guilty of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and perjury. Defendant appealed.

The government alleged that defendant participated in a scheme to defraud by purchasing a yacht, inflating its value through a series of sham transactions, obtaining insurance on the yacht at the inflated value, scuttling it off the coast of Italy, and attempting to collect the insurance proceeds, in part by lying about the cause of the sinking during civil litigation with the insurer.


  • The appellate court found that the trial court did not err in finding that the pre-trial delay did not violate defendant's due process rights and it properly denied defendant's pre-trial motion to dismiss the charges based on a delay of more than six years. 
  • Also, the government showed that it was entitled to an order suspending the statute of limitations under 18 U.S.C.S. § 3292. 
  • Thus, the trial court properly denied defendant's motion to dismiss the mail fraud and wire fraud charges. 
  • Because defendant's perjury occurred during the civil trial as part of his scheme to defraud and not during the criminal investigation as part of an attempt to obstruct justice, his perjury was not an "obstruction offense." 
  • Thus, the two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice was improper.

The appellate court affirmed defendant's convictions but reversed and remanded for resentencing.

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