United States v. Chervin

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal

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Judge Robert Patterson

A jury found defendant Chervin guilty of conspiring, with his father and the government's witness, to commit health care and mail fraud in a scheme to prepare and submit falsified medical bills to insurers. Defendant relied on a good faith and lack of knowledge defense grounded on testimony that despite preparing the bills he did not know of the fraud. The court had admitted his 1997 wire fraud conviction for credibility purposes only. It denied defendant's Rule 33 motion to set the jury's guilty verdict aside on the ground the jury's deliberations were tainted by the 1997 conviction's erroneous admission. Defendant's prior conviction was admissible under Federal Rules of Evidence 404(b) and 609(a) as probative of his knowledge of his father's prior involvement in a fraud scheme, and as bearing on his propensity to testify truthfully. Noting its jury instruction to the contrary—and the presumption that jurors follow court instructions—the court was unpersuaded by defendant's argument that the government presented its case and summation in a manner to lead the jury to infer from defendant's prior conviction that he held a criminal character and a propensity to commit crimes, particularly that for which he was accused.

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