Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Toll: Accountant opinion testimony proper

In U.S. v. Toll, No. 13-14540 (Nov. 3, 2015), the Court affirmed fraud convictions arising out of a scheme to use a separate set of accounting statements to inflate a company’s value. The Court rejected the argument that the district court abused its discretion in allowing the company’s controller, who testified for the government, about whether he believed, when he created them, that the financial statements complied with accounting principles. Toll argued that the controller was not qualified as an expert witness. Even if some of the testimony was opinion testimony, it was admissible because it was based on the controller’s personal experience. The Court also rejected the challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. The Court found that there was evidence that Toll knew that an accomplice was misrepresenting the financial strength of the company, and knew the other facts that were the basis for his multiple convictions.