Not what you're
looking for? Try an advanced search.
Buy This Entire Record For
UNITED STATES v. WALLACE
July 12, 1994
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
JEROME WALLACE, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WHITMAN KNAPP
WHITMAN KNAPP, SENIOR D.J.
The indictment charges defendant Jerome Wallace ("defendant") with four counts: one of conspiring to defraud a federally insured bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; one of attempting to defraud such a bank; one of conspiracy to commit the crime generally known as loansharking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 894; and one of actually engaging in such illegal activity. The case was assigned to Judge Miriam Cedarbaum in August 1993. Judge Cedarbaum transferred it to us on December 27, and the trial started on January 6, 1994.
Defendant was acquitted of the count charging attempt to defraud, but convicted of the other three counts. During the course of the trial we frequently expressed doubt as to the viability of the prosecution. As to the first two counts, it seemed to us that there was little or no relationship between the allegations of the indictment and the proof at trial. As to the remaining two, it was our view that while there was overwhelming proof of common law (or New Jersey statutory) extortion, by no stretch of the imagination could it be said that defendant violated the federal loansharking statute. However, we denied all motions to dismiss, indicating that in the event of conviction we would entertain a motion for judgment N.O.V. which, if granted, would be reviewable on appeal. Defendant now moves for such a judgment with respect to the counts of which he was convicted. For reasons that follow, we grant his motion.
A. The Count Charging Conspiracy to Defraud
With respect to the count charging a conspiracy to defraud, the relevant language of the indictment is:
It was an object of the conspiracy that JEROME WALLACE, * * * and others known and unknown, would and did execute and attempt to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud a financial institution, to wit, Citibank, * * * in that the defendants would and did deposit illegitimate checks drawn on New Jersey banks and wrongfully receive payment on the checks * * *.
The Government's version of the evidence relevant to this count, as set forth at pages 3 to 4 of the its memorandum in opposition to defendant's motion, is as follows:
At the direction of the FBI, Capri pretended to deposit the checks at Citibank and thereafter to obtain money from the account at Citibank into which the checks had been deposited. Capri gave Corso a copy of the phony deposit slips, indicating that the checks had been deposited at Citibank. Corso in turn gave a copy of the deposit slips to Wallace. After obtaining the copy of the deposit slips, Wallace continued to demand money from Capri. On August 24, 1992, Wallace instructed one of his co-conspirators, Joseph Cox, to accompany Carl Corso to the Blue Moon Cafe to pick up $ 21,000 from Capri.
B. The Loansharking Counts
With respect to the loansharking counts, the relevant language as to each is (emphasis supplied):
the defendants and their co-conspirators would and did sell illegitimate checks to a cooperating witness ("CW") on a credit basis, and then used and explicitly and implicitly threatened to use violence and other criminal means to cause harm to the CW's person, property and reputation, to collect money for the checks.
The Government's version of the evidence claimed to be relevant to these counts, as set forth at pages 24 to 27 of the Government's original memorandum, is as follows:
Buy This Entire Record For