United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
384 F.3d 1050 (2004)
Sun Village Realty (SVR), formed by James Montgomery and his sister, Mary Lou O’Connor (defendants), managed the rental of vacation homes in Sun River, Oregon in return for a twenty-five to thirty percent commission of the rental proceeds earned by homeowners. From 1989 to 1992, Louise Montgomery, James’ wife, managed the business operations. In October 1992, Mary moved to Sunriver and took over operations of the business because Louise was unwilling to work with Mary. Louise returned to the office in 1994 and after observing accounting irregularities, Louise spoke to her husband, and when he took no action, left him a letter on the kitchen counter stating that Mary was stealing and running a “dishonest operation” that was cheating its customers. The letter also stated that if she and James were unable to stop Mary from stealing, Louise would “write to her or talk to her.” However, Louise later began helping James and Mary to cheat customers by keeping the rental proceeds from one-night rentals, creating inaccurate accounts and allowing complimentary use of vacant properties without informing the owners. Eventually, property owners became suspicious and the IRS Criminal Division conducted a search of James and Louise’s home, and in the bedroom, agents found the letter Louise had written to James regarding Mary’s stealing. James, Louise and Mary were indicted for conspiracy and mail fraud. Louise agreed to testify against James and Mary. James and Mary were both convicted and appealed their convictions to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Goodwin, J.)
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