White Collar Crime

Vin and Geo were two stockbrokers who worked at an investment banking firm in New York. Unable to achieve their financial dreams through honest methods, they decided to earn a little extra on the side by ripping off some of their more gullible consumers. Together, they agreed to make a little extra money from some of their clients.

Vin and Geo’s plan worked as follows. They would call clients of theirs and offer the clients the chance to purchase a “red hot” stock called “Froogle.” Each would tell the client that a new broker in the firm was an expert on that stock. Vin or Geo would each then put the other on the phone and the other would claim (using a pseudonym) to be a broker with the firm and talk up the Froogle stock. If the client wished to purchase the stock, the client would be asked to send the money in. Vin or Geo would then deposit the money in an account with a bank in the Cayman Islands and never purchase stock with the money. After a few weeks, Vin or Geo would inform the client that Froogle had gone bankrupt and that the firm expert that had sold them the stock had left the firm and was unavailable to be reached.

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Eventually, Vin and Geo got two other brokers, Greg and Ben to join their scheme. This went on for about 14 months, with the 4 brokers stealing a total of over $190,000 from 34 clients in this way. Vin and Geo orchestrated it so that the money in the Cayman account purchased US-based assets that were titled in the names of Vin and Geo. In this way, they hoped that the source of the money would be untraceable.

After the scheme was exposed, Vin and Geo were arrested and charged with racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and various securities crimes.

During pre-trial proceedings, the securities charges are dismissed due to a technicality. Geo pleads guilty to a racketeering charge under 18 USC § 1962, fraud under the wire fraud statute and money laundering under 18 USC § 1956 and confesses to all of the above referenced activity. He testifies against Vin, who is then convicted of all of the same crimes after a jury trial.

You are asked to write the section of the pre-sentencing reports for Geo and Vin (don’t worry about Ben and Greg) that deals with the offense level. Please discuss all of the factors that will come into play in determining the Federal Sentencing Guidelines’ sentencing range (i.e., the offense level). In addition to the offense characteristics under Part 2 of the sentencing guidelines, please also make sure to consider the possibility of increasing the offense level based on §3B1.1 of the Guidelines and/or any other possible adjustment under Part 3 of the Guidelines.

Finally, please discuss any benefit that Geo might get due to his acceptance of responsibility (under Part E).

Please make sure to come up with and explain a final offense level for each defendant. It is critically important that you show your calculations and explanations to get credit for this assignment. Just providing a final offense level without showing your calculations and reasons will earn no credit. Thank you.

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