USA v. Jacek Radziszewski, 06-1559.   After a seven-day trial, a jury convicted Jacek Radziszewski of committing mail and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to obtain real estate loans through false representations. On appeal, Radziszewski challeges the district court’s exclusion of his proffered goodfaith defense (I stole the money but I was going to pay it back in four months).

The 7th Circuit reviews a district court’s evidentiary rulings, such as a decision to exclude a particular theory of defense, for abuse of discretion.

The 7th Circuit starts by stating that it is well settled that a defendant’s ultimate intention to pay off a debt obtained fraudulently is irrelevant to the intent to obtain the money through deceptive means.  US v. Masquelier, 210 F.3d 756, 759 (7th Cir. 2000).  (The defendant’s "ultimate intention to make good on the contract is irrelevant to his intent to obtain government money to which he was not entitled through deceptive means. . . . Fraud is complete when the defendant obtains money by false pretenses.")

Here, the fraud against Washington Mutual Bank was complete in August 2003, and Radziszewski’s intention to repay Washington Mutual Bank four months later can undo neither the fraud nor injury caused by wrongly depriving Washington Mutual Bank of its funds from August until December.

Therefore, the trial court properly excluded this defense.

For the full opinions visit the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Web Site.

For more about attorney Michael J. Petro, visit www.mjpetro.com .

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