Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Gray case brief

United States v. Gray case brief summary
405 F.3d 227 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 912 (2005)

Defendant was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on five counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1341, 1343, relating to her receipt of insurance proceeds following the deaths of her second husband and a former paramour. She was sentenced to, inter alia, 40 years' imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and restitution of $ 170,000. She appealed her conviction and sentence.

The indictment alleged that defendant "intentionally caused the deaths" of both her husband and the paramour and then fraudulently concealed her role in their murders from insurance companies.


  • The court first concluded, as to all counts, that the evidence supported the jury's finding that she intended to deprive the insurance companies of their "money" and "property" by means of a fraudulent scheme. 
  • Second, it determined that the evidence was sufficient to prove that she intended to defraud an insurer and thus sufficient to support her conviction on Counts One through Four. 
  • Third, it held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in permitting the Government to reopen its case-in-chief for the limited purpose of presenting testimony from a witness establishing that he mailed the pleadings specified in Counts Seven and Eight. 
  • Fourth, the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting certain testimony. 
  • Next, the court determined that her sentence was increased based upon a factual finding that the jury was not required to make. 
  • It concluded that the district court committed an error that was plain and that affected defendant's substantial rights.

The court affirmed defendant's conviction for mail fraud and wire fraud. It vacated the sentence, however, and remanded for resentencing in accordance with Booker.

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