United States v. Fassnacht

332 F.3d 440 (2003)

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United States v. Fassnacht

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
332 F.3d 440 (2003)

Facts

Fassnacht and Malanga (defendants) and their associate Newell structured a transaction to avoid paying income tax on an incentive fee. Concerned that a disgruntled employee would go to the authorities, Fassnacht, Malanga, and Newell devised a cover story and created false documents to conceal their wrongdoing. The employee went to the authorities, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initiated an investigation. Fassnacht and Malanga were indicted for tax evasion and obstruction of justice. To prove obstruction, the government (plaintiff) presented evidence at trial that the cover story’s creation started before the grand jury investigation began but Fassnacht and Malanga made false statements to investigators and created false documents to back up the story after becoming aware of the investigation. An agent testified he served Fassnacht with a grand jury subpoena, and the next day, Fassnacht was recorded discussing with Newell the documents requested in the subpoena. In a tape-recorded conversation the following day, Malanga discussed with Newell Fassnacht’s grand jury testimony. Newell testified he believed the grand jury was mentioned in a meeting he had with Malanga and Fassnacht. Fassnacht and Malanga were convicted on the obstruction-of-justice count and appealed, claiming they acted with intent to mislead the IRS investigation, not the grand jury investigation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kanne, J.)

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