United States v. Feldman
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
83 F.3d 9 (1996)
Norman and Eleanor Rabb were in their 80s. The Rabbs had difficulty managing their personal finances on their own and employed a 78-year-old woman to help them with those finances. Norman’s physical and mental health were failing, and Eleanor had physical issues. Accordingly, the Rabbs also hired Jonathan Feldman (defendant) as a home attendant to help care for them in their home. While working at the Rabbs’ house, Feldman became aware of the Rabbs’ physical ailments and inability to fully handle their own personal finances. Feldman used his access to take the Rabbs’ personal and financial information. Feldman then used that information to steal a total of approximately $200,000 from two of the Rabbs’ bank accounts. Knowing that the Rabbs’ condition and situation meant that the Rabbs might not notice the theft if they did not see the account statements, Feldman tried to hide his actions by having bank communications redirected to his house. Ultimately, Feldman was discovered, charged with federal crimes, and convicted. The district court determined that the Rabbs qualified as vulnerable victims under the sentencing guidelines because (1) Norman’s mental and physical health was failing and (2) both Rabbs were unable to manage their personal finances without help. The district court applied the vulnerable-victim finding to enhance Feldman’s sentence by two levels. Feldman appealed the sentence, arguing that the evidence did not support the application of the vulnerable-victim enhancement. Specifically, Feldman argued that (1) the district court had improperly determined that the Rabbs were vulnerable based solely on their ages and (2) no evidence existed that Feldman had targeted the Rabbs due to their vulnerability.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)
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