Monday, June 05, 2006

Grouping of Offenses under the Guidelines

United States v. Michael J. Brisson, No. 05-1540 (June 2, 2006): Mr. Brisson defrauded a bank of a substantial sum of money. He also submitted false claims for IRS refunds, which netted him a substantial sum of money. The district court refused to group the tax counts with the bank fraud count, despite Mr. Brisson's aargument that all the offenses were of the fraud variety and U.S.S.G. sec. 3D1.2 allows grouping. The Seventh Circuit ruled that although this section might seem to permit grouping or at least not disallow it, the true test is whether the offenses are of the same general type. It found that grouping was not required since the victims were different. The opinion is somewhat unclear as to whether it was reviewing the grouping on a de novo basis or merely finding that the district judge did not commit clear error. It is also unstated (perhaps the briefs did not raise the issue) whether the two losses were combined for purposes of calculating relevant conduct.