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United States v. Blumhagen

November 12, 2009

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
STEVEN D. BLUMHAGEN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Hugh B. Scott

Decision & Order

Before the Court is the defendant's motion seeking various pretrial relief (Docket No. 6).*fn1

Background

On March 9, 2009, the Grand Jury issued an indictment charging defendant Steven D. Blumhagen ("Blumhagen") with seven counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 2 [Counts 1-7], one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §371 [Count 8], and one count alleging forfeiture of various property deemed the proceeds of the alleged fraud and conspiracy [Count 9].

It is alleged that between November 2001 and May 2005, Blumhagen executed a scheme to defraud various companies and individuals of money. As the owner and President of Financial Acquisitions and Trading, LLC ("FAT"), along with Michael Kujawa and his company West Coast Finance, LLC ("WCF"), Blumhagen (and Kujawa) solicited monies from various companies by promising them that he would assist them in a purported bond offering that would allegedly generate large sums of money which the companies and individuals would receive. The government asserts that Blumhagen (and Kujawa), with the intent to defraud, falsely informed these companies and individuals that in order to participate in the bond offering they needed to pay "advance fees" or "application fees" which were purportedly necessary to pay attorneys fees or underwriting fees when, in fact, no such advance fees were required to execute a bond offering. Blumhagen (and Kujawa) further told the companies and individuals that if the bond offering did not close, they would receive their money back when he knew this to be false. It is also charged that Blumhagen (and Kujawa), with the intent to defraud, used monies wired to the FAT bank account without using the funds for the purpose for which the investors were told such monies would be used.

Discovery

The defendant has set forth a variety of items sought by way of pretrial discovery in this matter. It appears that the government has provided voluntary discovery in this matter. At oral argument, the defendant inquired about the production of several boxes of documents purportedly produced by the defendant to investigators during a meeting at his house. The government has represented that it is unaware of any such documents at this time but would investigate whether such documents exist. The government is directed to investigate whether any such documents were obtained by the government, and if such documents exist, to make them available to the defendant.

Rule 12 Notice

Pursuant to Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defendant has requested that the government give notice of its intention to use at trial any evidence which is discoverable under Rule 16. If government has not already done so, the government is directed to respond to the Rule 12 notice request.

Bill of Particulars

The defendant seeks a bill of particulars in this case. Rule 7(f) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that the Court may direct the filing of a bill of particulars. Bills of particulars are to be used only to protect a defendant from double jeopardy and to enable adequate preparation of a defense and to avoid surprise at trial. U.S. v. Torres, 901 F.2d 205 (2d Cir. 1990). The government is not obligated to "preview its case or expose its legal theory." U.S. v. LaMorte, 744 F.Supp 573 (S.D.N.Y. 1990); U.S. v. Leonelli, 428 F.Supp 880 (S.D.N.Y. 1977); nor must it disclose the precise "manner in which the crime charged is alleged to have been committed" U.S. v. Andrews, 381 F.2d 377 (2d Cir. 1967).

In the instant case, the government has produced substantial discovery to the defendants. Upon review of the indictment, and upon the discovery and information already provided or promised in this case, the defendant has not demonstrated that further particularization is required to protect him from double jeopardy or to enable him to adequately prepare a defense and avoid surprise at trial.

Brady and Jencks Material

The defendant seeks the disclosure of all potentially exculpatory materials, including information to be used for the impeachment of the government's witnesses, as required under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and its progeny. Brady material, as those cases have come to define it, includes all evidence which may be favorable to the defendant and material to the issue of guilt or punishment. Such evidence includes "[a]ny and all records and/or information which might be helpful or useful to the defense in impeaching... [and] [a]ny and all records and information revealing prior misconduct... attributed to the [government's] ...


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