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United States v. Miller

July 29, 2005

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MICHAEL LEWIS MILLER, APPELLANT



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Crim. No. 96-cr-00051). District Judge: Hon. Clarence C. Newcomer.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sloviter, Circuit Judge.

PRECEDENTIAL

Argued December 5, 2003

Decided June 10, 2004

On Remand from the Supreme Court of the United States April 4, 2005

Before: SLOVITER and ALITO, Circuit Judges, and OBERDORFER*fn1, District Judge.

OPINION

Before us is the appeal of Michael Lewis Miller following the order of the United States Supreme Court granting certiorari, vacating the judgment of this court, and remanding for further consideration in light of its decision in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. , 125 S.Ct. 738 (2005). As explained below, having determined that the sentencing issues implicated here are best addressed by the District Court in the first instance, we will remand for resentencing.

I.

In April 1997, a jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania convicted Miller (an attorney), as well as his co-defendants George Jensen, Philip Rennert, and David Yeaman, for their involvement in a complex scheme involving the leasing of worthless stocks of three public companies to the Teale Network ("Teale"). See generally United States v. Rennert, 374 F.3d 206 (3d Cir. 2004); United States v. Yeaman, 194 F.3d 442 (3d Cir. 1999).*fn2 Teale, a network of fraudulent offshore and domestic companies, represented these leased stocks as assets available to pay claims pursuant to reinsurance contracts entered into with a Pennsylvania-based insurance company, the World Life and Health Insurance Company ("World Life"). When World Life attempted to liquidate these assets to pay outstanding medical reinsurance claims, the stocks were found to be worthless. The jury convicted Miller of conspiracy, wire fraud, and securities fraud for his role in the scheme. Rennert, 374 F.3d at 207.

Thereafter, the District Court, applying the United States Sentencing Guidelines, sentenced Miller to seven months incarceration. Notably, although the District Court enhanced the sentences of Miller, Jensen, and Rennert due to its finding that their actions caused a loss of confidence in an important institution, it held that no monetary loss was caused by the Defendants' fraud because it found that World Life was insolvent at the time it entered into reinsurance contracts with Teale. Thus, for sentencing purposes, the District Court concluded that the loss amount occasioned by the Defendants' crimes was zero. The District Court also rejected, over the United States' objection, the application of additional sentencing enhancements for use of special skills (e.g., Miller's legal training) and for substantially jeopardizing a financial institution (the stock market). Rennert, 374 F.3d at 209.

Following these District Court proceedings, Miller and the other Defendants appealed to this court, challenging, inter alia, the District Court's instructions to the jury and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting their convictions. Id. The United States filed cross-appeals challenging several of the District Court's decisions at sentencing.

By way of several unpublished opinions, see United States v. Rennert, Nos. 98-1145 & 98-1101, slip op. (3d Cir. Oct. 15, 1999); United States v. Jensen, Nos. 98-1148 & 98-1104, slip op. (3d Cir. Oct. 15, 1999); United States v. Miller, Nos. 98-1147 & 98-1103, slip op. (3d Cir. Oct. 15, 1999), as well as one published opinion, see United States v. Yeaman, 194 F.3d 442 (3d Cir. 1999), we affirmed the convictions in all respects. However, on the United States' cross-appeals, we remanded Miller's case, along with that of his co-defendants, for resentencing. See Rennert, 374 F.3d at 209. Specifically, we directed the District Court to reconsider whether there was a causal connection between the Defendants' misrepresentations and the fraud loss (and, if so, in what monetary amount) and, in Miller's case, whether an enhancement would be appropriate for Miller's use of special skills (i.e., his legal training).

Pursuant to our directive, the District Court, on February 3, 2003, held a resentencing hearing for Miller, Jensen, and Rennert. At this hearing, Miller attempted to present testimony and documents in support of his argument that the scope of his involvement in the conspiracy was less than that of his co-conspirators and that the extent of the total loss caused by the fraud was not foreseeable to him. The District Court declined to permit Miller to submit evidence that was not already presented at ...


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