Second Circuit Appeal in Wire Fraud Case: Conspirators Claimed Banks Held “Trillions” in Yamasee Tribal Dollars

Here is the opinion in United States v. Corsey:

US v Corsey

Excerpts:

Over the next few months, Re recorded the defendants as they baited him with an escalating series of lies: Corsey explained that MIBT was the central bank for scores of Native American governments, including the Yamasee Indian tribe, a nation with trillions of dollars in assets.

And:

And in this case, appellants posit, no reasonable investment professional would have bought the conspirators’ absurd story; any broker would have laughed in disbelief the moment he opened an email from a wealthy bank sent from an AOL email address, found doctored copies of T-notes, and learned that a long-disbanded Native American tribe owned them. Thus, the argument goes, because no potential victim of this particular fraud would have ever fallen for it, the appellants’ lies were not “capable of influencing the decision of [any] decisionmaking body.”

Finally:

The twenty-year sentences imposed on appellants are not merely harsh, they are dramatically more severe than can be justified by the crime the appellants committed. This was a clumsy, almost comical, conspiracy to defraud a non-existent investor of three billion dollars. That scheme never came close to fruition. During his first meeting with Thomas Re, Emerson Corsey described Magnolia International Bank and Trust as the central bank for scores of Native American governments, including the Yamasee Indian tribe, which a Wikipedia search would have revealed as a tribal confederation that was broken up and defeated early in the 18th century. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamasee. It took only a brief Google search for Re and his associates to understand that the proposal “smelled”—which is why the appellants were recorded by Re for months before their arrest. At one point, Corsey provided Re with a certificate signed by John Juncal that listed CUSIP numbers for the T-notes; when Re shared the certificate with his colleagues, they responded by bursting into laughter. Even the terms of the proposed deal itself were laughable: the lender of three billion dollars would, according to the appellants, receive fourteen billion dollars in profit over five years. This scheme amounted to a series of absurd lies piled on top of even more absurd lies. Appellants’ conduct was not dangerous because they had absolutely no hope of success.