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United States v. Goldberg

decided: March 17, 1964.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MORRIS C. GOLDBERG, ALSO KNOWN AS MOE GOLDBERG AND M.C. GOLDBERG, APPELLANT.



Author: Ganey

Before BIGGS, Chief Judge, and McLAUGHLIN and GANEY, Circuit Judges.

GANEY, Circuit Judge.

The appellant here, Morris C. Goldberg, was convicted after a trial by a jury in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, under an indictment wherein he was jointly charged with Rudolph Csicsek (hereinafter known as "Rudy") with several offenses concerning income taxes, due from him personally, as well as from some corporations, thirteen in number, which he allegedly controlled. The indictment contained fifty-one counts and covered the years 1955 and 1956, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. ยง 7201 (1954).

Rudy subsequently plead nolo contendere, later numerous counts were withdrawn, and the only ones submitted to the jury were one, two, three, four, five, seven, eight and nine. A verdict of guilty on all counts was rendered by the jury and later the court granted the appellant's motion in arrest of judgment as to count one.Accordingly, on this appeal we are concerned only with counts two, three, four, five, seven, eight and nine.

The respective counts are as follows: Count two charged the appellant, Goldberg, with wilfully and knowingly attempting to evade a large part of his individual taxes owing to the Government by filing and causing to be filed a false and fraudulent individual income tax return for the year 1955. Count three charged the appellant with the same offense for the year 1956. Count four charged the appellant, as President of the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. of New Jersey, with wilfully and knowingly attempting to evade a large part of the taxes owing by that corporation for the period January 1, to September 1, 1955, by filing and causing to be filed a fraudulent tax return for that corporation. Count five charged the appellant, as President of the Pennsylvania Laundry Co., with the same offense for the calendar year 1955.Count seven charged the appellant, as President of the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co., a Pennsylvania corporation, with the same offense for the calendar year 1956. Count eight charged the appellant, as President of Anderson's Empire Coat, Apron and Towel Supply, Inc., with knowingly and wilfully evading a large part of the taxes due and owing to the Government by that corporation, by causing to be prepared and causing to be filed in the District of Camden, Camden, New Jersey, a false and fraudulent return for that corporation for the calendar year 1955. Count nine charged the appellant, as President of Anderson's Empire Coat, Apron and Towel Supply, Inc., with the same offense for the calendar year 1956.

The record discloses that the appellant, as President of some thirteen corporations which were engaged largely in the linen supply business, directly or indirectly owned all of the stock in these corporations. In addition to the corporations here above mentioned, there must be included also the Keystone Coat and Apron Manufacturing Corp., the Keystone Mercantile Corp. and Gold Tex Fabrics Corp.

On December 31, 1954, the Loans and Exchange Accounts in appellant's corporations showed that he was personally indebted to them in the sum of $387,390.14, largely carried on the books of the Keystone Coat and Apron Manufacturing Corp. and the Keystone Mercantile Corp., and as of June 22, 1955, this amount had been reduced to the sum of $280,000.00. These Loans and Exchange Accounts were made up of checks issued by the corporations to the appellant for his personal use and deposited in banks to his personal account and, additionally, amongst other things, in connection with oil gas leases, race track betting, as well as checks made payable to other individuals or corporations at appellant's direction and included the years 1955 and 1956.

In order to meet expansion programs and to have a more efficient operation of his business, the appellant sought a long-term loan of $2,000,000 from the Jefferson Life Insurance Company early in 1955. The insurance company advised him, after making a survey of his various corporations, including visits to his plants, that they would grant the loan if his personal indebtedness to the corporations was reduced by $120,000, as of September 1, 1955, and if the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. became merged with the Pennsylvania Laundry Co., as of that date. This seemed like an impossible requirement and the appellant attempted to borrow $280,000 in June of 1955 from a certain bank in Philadelphia, but being unable so to do, he undertook to meet the insurance company's requirement by proposing to it in a letter dated June 18th, that he reduce his indebtedness, as evidenced by his Loans and Exchange Accounts in 1955, by paying off $70,000 in July, $90,000 in August, and $10,000 a month as a minimum thereafter. As of September 1, 1955, the merger of the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. with the Pennsylvania Laundry Co. was completed and the appellant's personal loans to his various corporations were reduced so that the loan from the Jefferson Life Insurance Company of $2,000,000 was granted, although his income was $50,000 from Keystone Coat and Apron Supply Co. and $9,766 additional income, making an adjusted income of $59,766 for the year 1955, and he made no resort to outside borrowing.

Through a series of financial operations tedious in nature, the lengthy record discloses a complex accounting practice, yet simple in the results sought to be achieved - the filing of fraudulent tax returns - which we shall briefly review. Rudy was employed by the appellant for the period from October, 1946, to June of 1956, and then from September or October of 1956, to June of 1958. He started as a bookkeeper with the appellant, later became an accountant, then became controller of all his corporations and finally administrative assistant to him, in which capacity he had supervision and control of all the books and records of the corporations covering the years set forth in the indictment, to wit, 1955 and 1956.

The record discloses that in January of 1955, Rudy was called into the appellant's private office and there appellant told him he should take the cash and sales journals of the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co., beginning with January, 1955, and re-write them by reducing the cash sales, as shown from the cashier reports, which reflected the cash collected by drivers of the appellant, in an amount that would be around $3500 per week, not in the same amount, each and every week, but on an over-all period which would average out to $3500 per week. After rewriting the original sheets, the amounts so reduced were to be credited to appellant's Loan and Exchange Accounts in his corporations showing, in effect, a repayment in the same amount by the appellant. Pursuant to these instructions, Rudy worked up the payment sheets which were rewritten on a weekly basis, whereas they had been written on a daily basis, and showed them to the appellant who told him that was the way he wanted the matter done. However, since it required a great deal of time to so do, the appellant suggested that it be turned over to someone else, and Rudy mentioned Dan Ferrari, who handled the books of the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co., and appellant approved thereof and advised Rudy to instruct Ferrari as to how the cash and sales journals were to be written and the same amounts credited to his Loan and Exchange Accounts. The appellant gave specific instructions that after the cash and sales journals had been rewritten, the original records should be destroyed by both Rudy and Farrari, who did all the rewriting of the sheets, which, as stated, showed reduced cash income and a corresponding credit to appellant's Loan and Exchange Accounts in the various corporations. However, they did not destroy them, but placed the originals in files in their offices under their custody and control, never advising the appellant of their so doing, the larger part of which Rudy gave to the Government.

An instance typical of the operation which was carried on by Rudy is that of the Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. of New Jersey. Here, the original cash receipts and sales journals for this corporation showed a total income through sales for the month of January, 1955, of $147,599.50. When rewritten by him, pursuant to the appellant's instruction, the cash receipts and sales totaled sales of $133,599.50, or a reduction in cash sales of $14,000.00, and then this exact sum was shown as a repayment to the appellant's Loan and Exchange Account. For the same corporation for the month of February, 1955, the original receipts and sales journals showed total cash sales of $143,504.82, which cash sales were rewritten by Rudy, at the appellant's instruction, to show a total cash sales of $128,504.82, or a reduction in cash sales of $15,000.00, which was carried over to the appellant's Loan and Exchange Account as an alleged repayment by the appellant.

Ferrari carried on the operation, as directed by Rudy, by rewriting sales journals and crediting the amount to the Loan and Exchange Accounts and during an interim period when Rudy had left appellant's employ, out of an abundance of caution, he questioned appellant in June of 1956, and appellant told him to carry on as Rudy had previously told him, which he did, until he left appellant's employ in April of 1958. Typical of the operation carried on by Ferrari was Anderson's Empire of Atlantic City for July, 1955. Here the original record showed total sales in the cash receipts and sales journal of that corporation for that month of $119,173.68 and the rewritten record by Ferrari showed total sales for that corporation of $79,173.68, or a difference of $40,000.00. On the front of the rewritten sheet was a notation in quotation marks, "A July 1955 M", which indicated to Ferrari that $40,000.00 was to be the amount of the sales reduction, as directed by Rudy, as the notation was in his, Rudy's, handwriting. Here, again, the $40,000.00 was credited to appellant's Loan and Exchange Account.

It would serve no useful purpose to recite the exceedingly numerous rewritten sheets during 1955 and 1956, showing reductions in cash sales and an identical credit to appellant's Loan and Exchange Account covering the years laid in the indictment. Suffice it to say the Government's contention is that the appellant by causing the repayments to his Loan and Exchange Accounts in the amounts of the falsely reduced sales were income to him in those years, if when he withdrew the funds, his intention was to repay them, and the trial court specifically so charged. The jury found an intent to repay these personal funds and thus was created income to him in those years.

The admission into evidence of the rewritten sales sheets, on which the Government predicated the allegations in the indictment, that the appellant had defrauded the Government in the filing of his personal returns as well as those of the corporations - since both the personal and corporate returns were based on these sheets - while vigorously fought on other grounds, during the trial of the case, neither in argument nor in their briefs, did counsel deny that the comparison of the original sales records with them and on which the returns were made in Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. of New Jersey for 1955, Pennsylvania Laundry Co. for 1955, Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. for 1956, as well as Anderson's Empire for 1955 and 1956, had been substantially understated.

Ferrari was in the employ of the appellant, as an accountant from April, 1953, until April of 1958, and rewrote most of the records hereinabove adverted to, from March of 1955, until the end of December, 1956, the years in question. When he left in 1958, he took with him, without the permission of the appellant, records pertaining to the sales of Pennsylvania Coat and Apron Supply Co. of New Jersey, and Anderson's Empire and turned them over to the Government on August 5th, 1958. He was the first person to contact the Government agents, which he ...


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