Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stein: Signalife investor loss amount vacated

In United States v. Stein, No. 14-15621 (Jan. 18, 2017), the Court affirmed all fraud convictions arising out of a scheme to inflate the stock price of Signalife, but vacated his conviction and remanded for resentencing. The Court rejected Stein’s Brady claim, finding that the evidence at issue was exculpatory, and was available to him with reasonable diligence. The Court also rejected Stein’s Giglio claim, finding that the prosecution did not speak falsely, and its statements did not involve testimony that would have materially affected the judgment. Turning to the sentence, the Court noted that the district court calculated the loss amount based on a finding that all 2, 415 shareholders who owned shares of stock of the company whose value Stein inflated suffered a loss during the period the stock was artificially inflated. The Court noted that there was no direct evidence, and insufficient circumstantial evidence, that 2,415 investors relied on the fraudulent information Stein disseminated. The Court noted that on remand, the district court could try again to prove the losses of the Signalife investors, or rely on the defendant’s actual gain, instead of the actual loss, as a measure of the loss for Guideline purposes. The Court also agreed with Stein that, in calculating loss, the district court erroneously failed to account for “intervening events” that may have affected the stock price, specifically, the short-selling of over 22 million shares of Signalife and the across-the-board decline of the market in 2008. The Court instructed the district court to determine whether these intervening events affected the price of Signalife, and, if so, whether Stein reasonably foresaw this.