On June 9, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a Florida district court’s refusal to acquit Linda Deavers, an Indianapolis real estate broker, of four counts of wire fraud. In doing so, the Eleventh Circuit found that Ms. Deavers need not have sent fraudulent statements via email nor even know about the specific wording of the fraudulent statements as long as she supplied the misrepresentations, and it was reasonably foreseeable the substance of them would be transmitted by another person.
Ms. Deavers was charged, in part, with four counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, for causing a broker, Kyle Wilson, to transmit emails to his clients containing misrepresentations about the status of his clients’ investments with her. On appeal, Ms. Deavers made two arguments. First, Ms. Deavers argued that she did not send nor have knowledge of the emails at issue. Second, Ms. Deavers argued that Mr. Wilson’s emails were not an essential part of a scheme to defraud Floridian investors, and she cannot be held liable for Mr. Wilson’s conduct.
The Eleventh Circuit found Ms. Deavers arguments unavailing and affirmed her conviction. The three-judge panel held that evidence established that even if Ms. Deavers did not formally instruct Mr. Wilson to send his clients the misinformation she provided to him about his clients’ investments, it was reasonably foreseeable that Mr. Wilson would do so. Ms. Deavers had knowledge that Mr. Wilson frequently communicated investment updates with his clients via email and that Mr. Wilson was under pressure from his clients to see returns on their investments. As a result, the Eleventh Circuit held that the jury reasonably could have concluded that it was foreseeable to Ms. Deavers that her misrepresentations would be sent by Mr. Wilson via email and that was enough.
Additionally, Ms. Deavers attempted to establish that the wire fraud statute requires specific intent to use interstate wires. However, the Eleventh Circuit found this position contrary to its precedent.
US. v. Deavers, No. 14-14586 (11th Cir. Jun. 9, 2015)