United States District Court, D. Vermont
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR
JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL AND FOR A NEW TRIAL (DOC. 193)
CHRISTINA REISS, DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court are Defendant Alison Gu's motions for a
judgment of acquittal and for a new trial. Defendant was
charged in the Superseding Indictment with three Counts:
Count One: bank fraud; Count Two: knowingly making a false
statement in an application for a passport; and Count Three:
aggravated identity theft. On November 7, 2017, a jury
convicted Defendant of all three Counts. Defendant moved for
a directed verdict of acquittal at the close of the
government's case-in-chief and renewed that motion at the
close of all evidence. Both motions were denied.
to Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c), Defendant seeks a judgment of
acquittal notwithstanding the verdict, arguing that the
government's evidence at trial was insufficient to
support her conviction. In the alternative, Defendant moves
for a new trial under Fed. R. Crim. P. 33(a) on the same
basis. The government opposes both motions.
government is represented by Assistant United States
Attorneys Michael P. Drescher and Kevin Doyle. Defendant is
represented by Paul A. Goldberger, Esq., Paul S. Volk, Esq.,
and Stacey Van Maiden, Esq.
Factual and Procedural Background.
the course of six days of trial, the government called thirty
witnesses and introduced 105 exhibits. In the light most
favorable to the government, the evidence established that
Defendant committed bank fraud by submitting loan
applications to financial institutions which contained
materially false information, including the false identities
of the loan applicants, false banking records, false
appraisals, and false information regarding outstanding
financial obligations, annual income, and a past bankruptcy
petition, and the pendency of other loan applications. The
following identities were employed as part of the scheme:
Ally Koo, Ai J. Chen, Ai Jen Chen, Ai Chen, and Jing Shao.
The purpose of the fraudulent scheme was to obtain financing
for the purchase of certain real estate located at 7 Edith
Place, Cheshire, Connecticut; 389 Read Farm Road, East
Dorset, Vermont; 385 Cedar Avenue, Cocoa Beach, Florida; 184
South Sea Avenue, Unit 1, Yarmouth, Massachusetts; and 2406
Riverside Farms Road, Austin, Texas.
witnesses called by the government testified that financial
institutions would not extend credit to a person whose
identity they did not know. For example, Karen Malek from
Emigrant Mortgage Company testified that knowledge of the
identity of the loan applicant allows the lender to assess
the applicant's ability to repay the loan. In her
testimony, Defendant admitted that she had filed for
bankruptcy protection under her real name, creating a credit
risk of which financial institutions would be unaware if
Defendant used a false identity in applying for loans.
support of the passport fraud and aggravated identity theft
Counts, the government called Manuel Pacheco, a passport
officer employed by the United States passport office in St.
Albans, Vermont on March 27, 2015. Mr. Pacheco testified that
he had an approximately one-hour long interaction with an
individual who submitted an application for a United States
passport under the name of Ally Lynn Koo while also providing
a false social security card, a false Johnson State College
identification card, and a fraudulent New Hampshire
driver's license with the name Ally Koo, but bearing
Defendant's photograph. Each of these supporting items
was later discovered in Defendant's Cheshire, Connecticut
residence. Both the New Hampshire driver's license and
social security card were obtained with forged Montgomery
County Probate Court orders. Items related to these forgeries
were also found in Defendant's house.
reviewing the application and supporting documents, Mr.
Pacheco asked the individual applicant to complete a
supplemental questionnaire to further verify her identity.
Upon completing and returning the supplemental questionnaire
to Mr. Pacheco, the individual stated that she wanted to
withdraw her application, and Mr. Pachego returned her
supporting documents. The government presented video footage
from the passport office's security camera which depicted
this interaction. It further introduced the submitted
passport application, which included Defendant's
photograph, on behalf of applicant Ally Koo.
testified and called three witnesses. In the course of her
testimony, she admitted that she and her partner, Matthew
Abel, acquired four properties with their own money, but in
someone else's name. Regarding the purchase of property
in Cocoa Beach, Florida, for example, she testified:
Q So you admit that you purchased the house at 385 Cedar
Avenue in Cocoa Beach, Florida? You admitted that earlier,
A I did not use my name to purchase the house, but I used the
money that's mine to purchase the house, so -
(Doc. 202-1 at 92.)
further admitted purchasing the East Dorset, Vermont;
Yarmouth, Massachusetts; and Austin, Texas properties that
were the subject of the loan applications at issue in the
Q Did you purchase 385 Cedar Avenue, Cocoa Beach, ...