U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. v. Gyanbaah, et al.
Judges Winter, Lynch and Carney
Background: Several defendants were convicted of numerous counts following a bank fraud and identity theft scheme after a jury trial. One defendant appealed from his conviction for conspiracy to file false claims with the IRS, filing false claims with the IRS, bank fraud and identity theft on the grounds the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction.
Ruling: The Second Circuit held that there was insufficient evidence for the defendant’s conviction for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Specifically, the court found that the government had to prove that the defendant intended to expose the banks in question to loss. The government relied on circumstantial evidence from a conversation between the defendant and other participants and the actual exposure of the banks to loss as a result of the appellant’s deceptions. The court found that the evidence of exposure and loss is only a fact sufficient to support an inference of the requisite state of mind, but it is not a mandatory inference. Someone could forge a check believing that only the account holder will suffer loss. The Second Circuit found the defendant’s other contentions without merit.
Ross M. Bagley of Pryor Cashman for the defendant-appellant; Telemachus P. Kasulis, assistant U.S. attorney, for the appellee