The Eastern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss claims asserted against an individual defendant charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and securities fraud arising from his alleged involvement in a scheme to manipulate the stock price of small public companies through fraudulent faxes and press releases.
A criminal complaint was originally filed against the defendant in October 1999.Shortly thereafter, the defendant moved to Canada where he successfully resisted efforts to extradite him to the United States for nearly seven years. In mid-2007, when these efforts finally failed, he was delivered to U.S.authorities, returned to the United States and, following his return, indicted. However, in December 2007, the indictment was dismissed without prejudice for violation of the Speedy Trial Act and, following the dismissal, the defendant returned to Canada prior to being re-indicted.
After the re-indictment, while refusing to return to the United States, the defendant filed his motion to dismiss the new indictment on a combination of substantive and procedural grounds. Rather than consider the motion on its merits, the district court, applying the “fugitive disentitlement doctrine,” denied the defendant’s motion. Under that doctrine, courts have “the authority to refuse to grant relief to those who flee from justice.” To determine whether to apply the doctrine, courts examine whether any of four grounds are present: (i) assuring the enforceability of decisions rendered against the fugitive, (ii) imposing a penalty for flouting the judicial process, (iii) discouraging flights from justice, and (iv) avoiding prejudice to the other side caused by the defendant’s escape.
Here, the court ruled that all four factors weighed in favor of denying the motion, and that the defendant should not be permitted to “try to secure a favorable decision without risking the consequences of an unfavorable decision.” (United States v. Gorcyca, 2008 WL 4610297 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 16, 2008))