Monday, June 20, 2005

404(b) in wire fraud case

[CASE] In an unpublished opinion, the 9th Circuit discusses the use of evidence of other "bad acts" in a wire fraud case. U.S. v. Staggs, 2005 WL 1400266 (9th Cir. June 15, 2005), Find Result - 2005 WL 1400266.

Evidence of prior bad acts cannot be admitted to show that the defendant has a propensity to do bad stuff, but Rule 404(b) allows it in for certain other purposes. Here:

The elements of wire fraud are: "a scheme to defraud, use of the wires in furtherance of the scheme, and the specific intent to defraud." * * * Here, evidence relating to Staggs' involvement with prior investment programs demonstrated Staggs' knowledge that his clients had lost their principal investments and received no profits from the prior schemes. The evidence also showed that these programs had been shut down because they were fraudulent. This evidence was admitted to prove a material element of the offense: Staggs' knowledge of the fraudulent nature of the charged scheme and his intent in promoting it.
(citations omitted). The court discusses several other evidentiary issues in this short opinion.

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