U.S. v. Murray, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 4842 (3rd Cir. 2012)
Defendant Lawrence Murray was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and other charges. Murray appealed from a judgment of conviction and sentence of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Testimony by two of defendant's former attorneys in reviewing the contents of letters they had prepared for an IRS audit did not violate defendant's rights under the Confrontation Clause because the attorney-client privilege did not extend to the representations made in the letters, which comprised the sole topic of their testimony. Also, the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's bank fraud conviction.
Murray prepared false tax returns that overstated his clients' incomes to assist them in obtaining loans on more advantageous terms, thereby targeting the bank and increasing the lenders' risk of loss (the fact that defendant's fraudulent representations did not come to fruition because his clients never submitted the returns with their loan applications was immaterial).
However, the sentence enhancement for criminally derived income was erroneously applied because although defendant filed false tax returns, he did not fail to identify the source of criminally derived income; rather, he claimed improper deductions under "contracting services" to reduce taxable income, which protected the income from taxation, but did not make it difficult to ascertain.
The court affirmed the judgment of conviction and remanded for re-sentencing.
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