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United States v. Pinson

860 F.3d 152 (2017)

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United States v. Pinson

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

860 F.3d 152 (2017)


Jonathan Pinson (defendant) was involved in four business ventures. Pinson’s first venture was the homecoming concert at South Carolina State University (SCSU). Pinson and Edward Givens, general counsel at SCSU, arranged for Pinson’s friend to be hired as the promoter for the homecoming concert. Pinson and Givens received kickback payments for the arrangement. Pinson’s second venture also involved Givens. Although Pinson was ultimately unsuccessful, Pinson attempted to arrange SCSU’s purchase of an off-campus facility so that he and Givens would receive kickback payments from the seller of the property. Pinson’s third venture was the diaper business Supremes, LLC, which he managed with businessmen Lance Wright and Robert Williams. Pinson applied for and received a grant from officials in the county where Supremes sought to establish a new factory. Pinson hired Phillip Mims as a project manager. Pinson, Mims, Wright, and Williams regularly submitted false invoices to the county for grant funding and pocketed the overpaid funds. Pinson’s fourth venture was the housing development Village at River’s Edge (the Village). Mims was the project manager of the Village. The Village received a grant from the local housing authority to expand the development. Pinson and Mims submitted invoices for work done by a subcontractor but retained some of the money and failed to fully repay the subcontractor. Wright and Williams were investors in the Village but were not involved in the payment scheme. The government (plaintiff) charged Pinson in federal district court with crimes including conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). Pinson moved for a judgment of acquittal, which the district court denied. Pinson was convicted of RICO conspiracy. Pinson appealed the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal, arguing there was insufficient evidence for the jury to find that he was guilty of RICO conspiracy.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Dissent (Diaz, J.)

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