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Judges uphold mail fraud conviction

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Although it noted the question was a "close one," the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined there was sufficient evidence to support a man's conviction of mail fraud in his scheme to defraud the government out of money for work he didn't complete.

In United States of America v. Timothy A. Boisture, No. 07-1621, Timothy Boisture appealed one of his two convictions of mail fraud. Boisture, a partial owner of Environmental Consulting and Engineering Company, participated in a multi-part scheme to defraud his company and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Boisture was awarded a project through IDEM to clean up oil and waste storage tanks and plug 12 oil and oil injection wells in Vanderburgh County. Later, the project expanded to 39 more wells in the county. IDEM paid for the project with a grant from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources oversaw the closure of the wells.

Boisture, along with subcontractor Carl Hanisch and DNR inspector Donald Veatch, conspired to get money from IDEM for work they didn't complete. Environmental Consulting could get additional funds for "out of scope" work, and after Hanisch incurred unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, the three men wrote up reports and invoices claiming to perform work that they could be reimbursed for. After his convictions of mail fraud, Boisture appealed arguing insufficient evidence on one count of mail fraud.

The government relied on false representations in two "Plugging and Abandonment Reports" required by DNR for each well closed to support the mail fraud convictions. The reports were mailed from the Evansville office to the Indianapolis office. At the time of the mailings, Boisture and his co-schemers had already been paid, so he argued the government failed to show the mailings furthered their scheme. He also argued there was insufficient evidence anyone in the scheme knew the reports would be mailed.

Boisture, Hanisch, and Veatch sought to keep their scheme undetected, and the reports tied into and helped complete the scheme as a whole, wrote Judge Ilana Rovner. They needed the invoices and the reports to match so as to not raise suspicion. In addition, the DNR didn't consider the plugging process finished until the completed reports were received and bond released. Although the government's case could have been stronger, the jury could have inferred from the evidence that the two reports amounted to the final step in a broad scheme to dupe IDEM.

The 7th Circuit also rejected Boisture's argument that none of the three men could have foreseen the reports would be mailed. Veatch testified that he knew the final part of the report, the bond release, was completed and stored at the main DNR office in Indianapolis. He also testified that he submitted the reports to the Evansville office; from this, the jury could infer that Veatch could have reasonably foreseen the documents would be mailed. No employee hand delivered the reports and to convict Boisture of mail fraud, the government had to prove he, Veatch or Hanisch could reasonably foresee the documents being mailed, wrote Judge Rovner.

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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