Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Broughton: Insurance Fraud convictions affirmed

In U.S. v. Broughton, No. 10-15527 (Aug. 10, 2012), the Court affirmed convictions for fraud and money-laundering in connection with a scheme involving fraudulent capitalization of purported insurance companies.
The Court rejected the argument that the statute of limitations barred the prosecution. The Court pointed out that, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3292, the district court had suspended the running of the statute of limitations because the government had filed a notice that an official request for evidence had been made from a foreign country. The Court rejected the argument that the statute of limitations should not have been suspended because the government knew of the conspiracy before sending its official requests to Costa Rica and Panama, or that the conspiracy had terminated before the Government requested the statute of limitations be tolled, or that none of the evidence requested was needed at trial. None of these matters were needed to satisfy the conditions of § 3292.
The Court also rejected the argument that even with a suspension of the limitations period, the criminal action was untimely because it was filed more than five years after the completion of the conspiracy. The Court pointed out that within the limitations period Broughton wrote "placatory" letters to victim-investors, urging "continued patience" with what was a fraudulent scheme. This was a "continuing execution of a conspiracy to defraud." Alternatively, the Court found that if the suspension time was factored in, the indictment was timely.
The Court rejected challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, pointing to the evidence of a fraudulent conspiracy, and to the fact that the jury could have disbelieved Broughton when he testified in his defense at trial. Finally, the Court rejected challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting money-laundering convictions, noting evidence that cash was transported to the Cayman Islands and stuffed under a mattress.