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United States of America v. Sherry Roebuck

October 17, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHERRY ROEBUCK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable J. Garvan Murtha United States District Judge

DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S RULE 29(c)MOTION

(Doc. 50.)

I. Introduction

Defendant Sherry Roebuck moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 29(c) for judgment of acquittal on counts one and two of the indictment (Doc. 1) and requests that the Court vacate the guilty verdicts on both counts, dismissing them with prejudice. (Doc. 50.) The government opposes the motion. (Doc. 51.)

For the following reasons, the motion for judgment of acquittal is DENIED.

II. Background

Sherry Roebuck was found guilty on July 26, 2012 on both counts of the indictment following a three-day jury trial.

The indictment's first count charged Roebuck, as an agent of both the Algiers Fire District #1 ("Fire District") and the Town of Guilford ("Guilford"), with embezzling money from municipalities receiving federal funds, an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(A). (Doc. 1 at ¶ 7.) As treasurer for the Fire District, Roebuck had access and control over its checkbook and accounts. Id. at ¶ 2. She was charged with embezzling approximately $82,000 by writing checks to herself from late 2007 to early 2011. Id. at ¶ 5. The Fire District is a municipality that supplies sewer services to some residents of Guilford. Id. at ¶ 1.

At trial, the evidence clearly established Roebuck was employed by the Fire District. While Guilford received federal funds in 2009 and 2011, the Fire District did not. The indictment, however, charged Roebuck as an agent of both of these municipalities. Id. at ¶ 7.

The second count of the indictment charged Roebuck with mail fraud, alleging that the "Algiers Fire District #1 used the United States Postal Service to mail quarterly sewer bills to members and received payments from members through the U.S. mail." Id. at ¶ 3. Furthermore, it charged Roebuck with devising a scheme to defraud and "obtain money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises," and "for the purpose of executing such scheme and artifice, knowingly caused to be delivered by the United States Postal Service checks from Algiers Fire District #1 members" as payment for sewer services. Id. at ¶ 9. Roebuck deposited these checks and misappropriate the proceeds. Id. At trial, the evidence established that Roebuck was trained to send invoices to Fire District members and to receive checks or other funds and deposit them into the Fire District's account. The jury heard undisputed testimony that Roebuck mailed the invoices and picked up the received checks at the Fire District's mailbox. There was no evidence, and the government did not contend, that the mailed invoices to Fire District members or the mailed funds received were themselves fraudulent or induced by false statements or representations.

III. Discussion

A. Standard

A defendant who challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying a conviction bears a very heavy burden. United States v. Amiel, 95 F.3d 135, 141 (2d Cir. 1996). A court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government and credit inferences in its favor. United States v. Chavez, 549 F.3d 119, 124 (2d Cir. 2008). If "any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt," the conviction must stand. United States v. ...


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