United States v. Saccoccia

354 F.3d 9 (2003)

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United States v. Saccoccia

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
354 F.3d 9 (2003)

Facts

Stephen Saccoccia was indicted by a grand jury for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and for money laundering. The government (plaintiff) initiated forfeiture proceedings on property derived from the racketeering activities, and the district court enjoined Saccoccia from any transfers of the property. If any of the tainted property was no longer available, the government sought to collect untainted property of equivalent value. Saccoccia hired attorneys, including Jack Hill and Kenneth O’Donnell (defendants). Saccoccia transferred approximately half a million dollars each to Hill and O’Donnell, purportedly for legal fees. One year later, Saccoccia was convicted and ordered to forfeit $137,000,000. When the government discovered the transfers to Hill and O’Donnell, it filed a motion to compel them to return the fees as property subject to forfeiture. The district court granted the motion and entered an order instructing Hill and O’Donnell to turn over any fees they had received from Saccoccia after his conviction. Hill and O’Donnell then appealed the order requiring them to forfeit their postconviction legal fees, contending that the government could not take the fees they received from Saccoccia because the fees had already been spent. Hill and O’Donnell argued that they would instead be forced to pay with money acquired elsewhere, which was untainted by the racketeering activity. The government argued that transfers of the property had been enjoined, and Hill and O’Donnell knowingly violated the injunction by spending the fees.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cyr, J.)

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