The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bumb, United States District Judge:
Defendant Jong Shin ("Defendant") was charged in a four-count indictment (the "Indictment") and convicted of all four counts. Defendant has now moved for a judgment of acquittal on all four counts. For the reasons that follow, that motion is DENIED.
The Indictment alleged that the Defendant engaged in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 (Count 1), a conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h)(Count 2), and furnished false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014, to financial institutions for the purpose of influencing those institutions (Counts 3 and 4).
All of these charges related to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme, orchestrated by the Defendant, in which the Defendant purchased homes in Atlantic City and recruited straw purchasers to purchase the homes at fraudulently inflated prices. The wire fraud conspiracy charge - Count 1 - was predicated on this overall scheme. With respect to this scheme, the evidence showed that: (1) the Defendant orchestrated a scheme with her co-conspirators that caused numerous false statements to be submitted to lending banks in support of mortgage applications;
(2) that these false statements were on matters of importance to the banks that were the victims of the scheme; and (3) that the banks would not have issued the mortgages at issue here had the truth been disclosed.
Defendant's agreement with her co-conspirators to then use the proceeds of the wire fraud scheme formed the basis for Count 2 - the money laundering conspiracy charge. The evidence showed that the Defendant used the proceeds of these transactions to, among other things, pay kickbacks to her co-conspirators and finance the purchase of a liquor store in Englewood, New Jersey.
Both false statement charges related to false statements made in connection with mortgage applications to J.P. Morgan Chase Bank ("Chase"). With respect to both Counts, the jury was charged that it could find the Defendant guilty if she was directly responsible for making the false statements at issue, if she aided and abetted the making of the false statements, or if the false statements were made in the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy and were a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the conspiracy.
Specifically, Count 3 charged the Defendant with making false statements to Chase for the purpose of influencing Chase to issue mortgages to Defendant's co-conspirator, Tula Rampersaud ("Tula"), on a property located at 136 South Bellevue Atlantic City, New Jersey. With respect to this Count, there was evidence before the jury, or from which the jury could infer, that: (1) Defendant recruited Tula to participate in the scheme and directed that Tula purchase the property at issue in this Count;
(2) Tula signed a fraudulent loan application to purchase the property; (3) the loan application was, in fact, largely prepared by the Defendant knowing of its falsity; and (4) Shin directed that co-conspirator Michael Oxley ("Oxley") prepare a false appraisal for the home at issue, which was submitted to Chase.
Similarly, Count 4 charged Defendant with making false statements to Chase for the purpose of influencing Chase to issue a mortgage to Defendant's co-conspirator, Sudesh Rampersaud ("Susesh"), on a property located at 1929 Blaine Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey. With respect to this Count, there was evidence before the jury, or from which the jury could infer, that: (1) Shin recruited Sudesh in the scheme and directed him to purchase the property at issue; (2) Sudesh signed a fraudulent loan application to purchase the property; (3) the loan application was, in fact, largely prepared by the Defendant knowing of its falsity; and (4) Oxley had prepared a fraudulent appraisal in for the home at issue, which was submitted to Chase.
Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(a), a defendant may seek a judgment of acquittal "if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction . . . ." Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(a). Demonstrating that judgment of acquittal is warranted is a high burden. United States v. Lore, 430 F.3d 190, 204 (3d Cir. 2005). The Rule requires the Court to "view the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury verdict and presume that the jury properly evaluated credibility of the witnesses, found the facts, and drew rational inferences." United States v. Kelley, 301 F. App'x 172, 175 (3d Cir. 2008). The Court may overturn a ...